Archive for the ‘Holocaust’ Category

‘We didn’t want Exodus to Shanghai to be like the rest of WWIIsad and traumatic.’ – Tablet Magazine

Exodus to Shanghai is a film that claims to tell the story of Ho Feng-Shan, Chinese consul for Vienna, a rescuer of Jews in prewar Austria. While indeed based on true events, it may be the first Holocaust film that heavily features martial-arts-action scenes. The cast includes German actors, as well as Romanians, some Asians, and two young blond models. It was completed in Israel and sponsored by the Fashion TV channel. Sounds delusional? Not in the eyes of the filmmakers.

The production of Exodus to Shanghai was initiated by the founder and sole owner of Fashion TV, Michel Adam, a 67-year-old Jewish businessman. Born in Warsaw as Michel Adam Lisowski, his life took him from his homeland Poland to Vienna, where his family relocated in the 1950s. From there, he went to Princeton University as a math student. He then moved to Thailand, where he started his textile business. In the mid-1990s, he moved to Paris, where he opened some nightlife spots and founded Fashion TV, which is basically an endless catwalk running 24/7 on television, with some trendy parties here and there. Adam also has strong ties with Israel, where he was detained in 2005 after he was accused by a model of sexually harassing her.

The idea to make the movie was sparked in Adams mind in June 2014 while having a Shabbat dinner in Shanghai with the local rabbi, who told his honorable guest about the Chinese Schindler who helped Viennese Jews escape Nazi-occupied Austria in the late 1930s by secretly stamping thousands of immigration visas. As I live in Vienna I went after the story, and I found out that the office of Dr. Ho was 100 meters away from the Fashion TV Office, Adam told me in an interview. The characters and incidents are based on many stories told by my family and by real-life people of Jewish heritage, who I met on my multiple journeys from Vienna and Israel to China. I got to live out my interpretation of this story.

Adam said that other than world history, it was his own family history that pushed him into finding the funds for the not-so-low-budget production. The main inspiration for the film is the life story of my mother, he said. She and her family left Europe for Palestine, while her sister and her husband went to China through Russia. She was 17 years old in 1939 when the war started and she pursued her path to survival. Our generation does not have to go through such challenges, but I always ask myself this question: What choice would I have made, if I would have ended up in a similar situation? Would I have been able to do something better?

Is Exodus to Shanghai something better? It depends whether you are a Steven Spielberg or Jackie Chan kind of guy.

The film, directed by Anthony Hickox, is set in 1938 Vienna, which is ruled by local Hitler sympathizer Hermann Deutsch (played by German actor Markus Von Lingen), the movies villain, a local goon turned Nazi commissar. Deutsch always felt underprivileged near the rich and well-educated Morgenstern family, and he coveted their art collection and beautiful daughter Fannia (played by Israeli model Yaara Benbenishty). Now, with a swastika on his arm and in his heart, he can use his executive power in order to exploit, blackmail, and torment his Jewish neighbors.

While her parents find it hard to leave it all behind, Fannia, her sister Rivka (Israeli model and singer Jahni Raz), and brother Moshe (Srulik Pniel) decide to run away. But where to? This is where Dr. Ho comes into the picturehe grants them visas to China, while his nephew Bruce makes sure they will make it through the violent attack of Hermann and his gang. Bruce, as you can imagine, is a Bruce Lee-like character (played by Vietnamese-French model Alexandre Nguyen) who kicks Nazi asses. Between one fight and another, he also takes the time to exchange kisses and some fists with Fannia, who soon becomes a well-trained lethal kung fu fighter herself. She will have her share of Jewish vengeancethink Kill Bill meets Inglourious Basterds.

As in Inglourious Basterds, Exodus to Shanghai also feeds off the theme of Jewish vengeance. Whether its Fannia with her fists or her aristocratic parents with their machine guns, the sight of Nazi troops being massacred by Jews gives the movie a nice share of the Jewsploitation marketnot really a kosher one, but enjoyable for some. We saw during the screening a lot of people who enjoyed seeing the Nazis beaten. At the end, the main star Yaara, a violinst, shoots a key Gestapo guy and provided proof that she can protect herself, Adam said. We wanted to show a stronger side of the Jews and show that they fought back against the Nazis. That the Nazis were power-loving, drug-hungry evil men and that the people who believed in justice fought back.

But with all due respect to his Jewish heritage and pride, Adam is a seasoned businessman who knows that the real audience and market for this movieif anyis based in China. In todays film economy, Western producers, even the big Hollywood ones, are looking east to find some financial relief for their flopping movies. While Adam wont admit that, it is pretty clear that this is the main reasoning behind inserting wild martial-arts scenes into a Holocaust movie. Before the production of Exodus to Shanghai, Dr. Ho was fairly unknown among those that did the right thing, Adam said. We were able to present his story and show how kind and heroic he was to those in need. We believe that this topic should never be forgotten, and thank the Chinese people, he added.

In real life, to the extent that it matters, Dr. Ho was a master of bureaucracy, not of martial arts. This is his Chinese-keit in the view of the filmmakers. Martial arts have been associated with the Chinese for thousands of years. We wanted to bring the story closer to the Chinese and put them in a good light, show cultural customs such as martial arts, disguises, etc., which are effective against villains such as Hitler, Adam explained. Additionally we didnt want the movie to be like the rest of WWIIsad and traumatic. Instead, through the use of action, we were able to portray that defiance can lead to happiness, survival, love, marriage. Martial arts protected the Jews in the past and today.

Jahni Raz, the 21-year-old Australian-born Israeli singer and model who was cast for the production by her agent, who has close ties with Adam, felt privileged to be part of this inventive retelling of history, she said. As young Rivka, she gets to perform as a vocalist and give her best Marlene Dietrich impersonation while singing Lili Marleen. She also contributed to the movies soundtrack. When I was offered to play a singer in the time of the Holocaust, I was really moved by the idea. It was an opportunity to combine singing and acting, Raz noted. Of course, she also gets to hit people, as her fragile nave character becomes a Nazi killer in the final scenes. I believe that the combination of the genres in the film expresses the directors creativity, Raz said. He used it to tell an important story in a way that the younger generation can relate to. The movie deals with a tragic time, while demonstrating a feeling of strength, will to fight, and even win.

We didnt want Exodus to Shanghai to be like the rest of WWIIsad and traumatic.

It is hard to watch Exodus to Shanghai and not think about the Holocaust survivors, and the way they would react to the way their suffering is being exploited as an action flick. For his part, Adam sticks to his message of defiance: Hopefully this movie shows the fight against evil and the hope that many felt during that time, he explained. We will always be thankful to those who fought and the Chinese for helping the Jews make their exodus. Mutual respect and sympathy held by the Chinese and the Jews that contributed to the preservation of human dignity and world progress in general. Our intention was not to hurt the memory but to show that there is a way out for some. Holocaust survivors are in the film, showing that if a situation is difficult and you escape, make an exodus, you survive.

After wrapping the shoot in Romania, Adam and his crew had their exodus to Israel, where a local visual-effects team took over. Although it has many Israeli actors and crew members, Exodus to Shanghai was never considered as an Israeli production and never had a theatrical release in the Holy Land (or anywhere else in the world for that matter: it is available for download). As we wanted to show typical Jewish faces and actors, we went to Israel for Jewish roles, Adam said. At the same time, we discovered that postproduction and music scoring [in Israel] were at an excellent level and reasonably priced, which gave us the confidence to develop these resources for future projects.

Now that Exodus to Shanghai is out, Adam is ready for his next planned productions: Falconman, whichhe describes as a new superhero who fights corruption based in the world of megasports such as soccer, Grand Prix, etc., and a another Holocaust movie, The Eichmann Conspiracy, about how the Nazis manipulated Germans to be violent anti-Semites. It is a rare universe in which Falconman and Eichmann can co-exist on the same plane of meaning. In the work of Michel Adam, that universe has found life.

***

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Amir Bogen is a film journalist.

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‘We didn’t want Exodus to Shanghai to be like the rest of WWIIsad and traumatic.’ – Tablet Magazine

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Preserving Artifacts, Memories of Holocaust Survivors – Chicago Tonight | WTTW


Chicago Tonight | WTTW
Preserving Artifacts, Memories of Holocaust Survivors
Chicago Tonight | WTTW
Since 1993, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., has worked to educate visitors about the millions of people imprisoned and killed in the 1930s and '40s by Nazi Germany. The exhibit's permanent collection is replete with artifacts of …

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Preserving Artifacts, Memories of Holocaust Survivors – Chicago Tonight | WTTW

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One year after downtown shooting, Dallas Holocaust Museum continues partnership with local law enforcement to … – Dallas Business Journal

One year after downtown shooting, Dallas Holocaust Museum continues partnership with local law enforcement to …
Dallas Business Journal
Last September, the Dallas Holocaust Museum implemented a 4 1/2 hour program for officers to tour the museum and analyze the role of law enforcement in an evolving community. The program, known as Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons of the …

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One year after downtown shooting, Dallas Holocaust Museum continues partnership with local law enforcement to … – Dallas Business Journal

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Re-dedication ceremony planned for damaged Boston Holocaust Memorial – Metro US

When Bostons Holocaust Memorial was vandalized in June, Jewish community leaders spoke about how they will rebuild. On Tuesday, those leaders, Holocaust survivors and state and local officials will come together at a rededication ceremony for the memorial.

Gov. Charlie Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh will join the Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston at the memorial in Carmen Park on Congress Street at 1 p.m. Tuesday. The public is welcomed to attend the rededication as well, organizers said.

James E. Isaac, a 21-year-old Roxbury man, was charged with throwing a rock at the memorial in the early hours of June 28, shattering a glass panel that was etched with the numbers tattooed on the arms of Jewish people during the Holocaust.

Isaac pleaded not guilty to vandalism. His attorneys said that he had a history of mental illness and is struggling considerably, the Boston Globe reported.

Yet regardless of motive, the destruction of the sacred place had a strong impact on the community, others said.

The morning after the incident, Israel Arbeiter, a Holocaust survivor, spoke about when he and his wife learned that the memorial had been damaged.

It was six in the morning that my wife came into our bedroom, she was shaking and crying. She said, They destroyed the memorial,’ he said in June.

The memorial consists of six towers to represent the six million Jews who died during the Holocaust, the six years during which the Final Solution took place and the six main death camps where the majority of European Jews were murdered, an official said.

There are 132 panes of glass in total, including the one that was shattered. At the rededication ceremony on Tuesday, a new glass panel will be unveiled.

The officials set to attend will echo the sentiments expressed by so many last week: our community is strong, we stand together to help each other, and we reject hatred, the event listing reads.

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Re-dedication ceremony planned for damaged Boston Holocaust Memorial – Metro US

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Centre needs YOUR vote to help keep Holocaust testimony alive – LincolnshireLive

A groundbreaking project which captures 3D recordings of survivors recounting their experience of the Holocaust is up for a National Lottery Award – and it needs your help.

The innovative Forever Project at the National Holocaust Centre at Laxton needs votes to secure a 5,000 prize to help continue its work for future generations.

The Forever Project uses interactive 3D recordings of Holocaust survivors talking about their harrowing experiences.

Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Centre has collated thousands of questions typically asked by schoolchildren and put them to survivors, so that using cutting-edge technology future generations will be able to have conversations with digital recordings of survivors are they die.

Nearly half a million children have had an audience with survivors at the centre over the last 20 years.

But it may only be a few more years before they are no longer able to deliver their testimonies in person.

Through The Forever Project, children can ask survivors questions for years into the future, with software matching the question with the closest recorded answer.

Sarah Coward, development director of the National Holocaust Centre, says:It is a sad reality that Holocaust survivors wont be around for many more years to share their stories. Already one survivor has very sadly passed away since recording his testimony for The Forever Project.

“The timing of this project is absolutely crucial if we are not to lose these first-hand insights, and that is what makes The Forever Project so special.

“Winning the Award would mean such a lot to all the survivors involved, and if we were lucky enough to win the 5,000 prize, it would contribute to making these special testimonies available more widely for this most time-sensitive of projects.

The personal testimony of survivors describing what they lived through is such a powerful tool in challenging prejudice and intolerance. In todays world, their stories are more important than ever.

Steven Frank, a survivor of the Theresienstadt concentration camp, and the first survivor to be filmed as part of the project, said: To have an eyewitness account is so incredibly powerful. And this is about the nearest that you can get without actually being there.

Voting for the National Lottery Awards runs until midnight on July 27.

The public can vote online at http://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/project/forever-project or by calling 0844 836 9699

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Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Continues Efforts to Help Holocaust Survivors – Sunshine State News

Towards the end of last week, retiring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the first woman to ever lead the House Foreign Affairs Committee and currently the chairwoman of the House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, continued her calls for Germany to do more for Holocaust survivors.

With the German government meeting the Claims Conference for the latest annual agreement over how much to provide Holocaust survivors, Ros-Lehtinen said that nation needed to do more.

Last fall, both the House and the Senate unanimously agreed that Germany must do more to ensure that all Holocaust survivors can live their remaining years in the comfort and dignity that they deserve, Ros-Lehtinen said on Thursday. We urged our partners, Germany, to reaffirm its commitment to comprehensively address the medical, mental health, and long-term care needs of survivors by guaranteeing full funding to meet those needs.

Now Germany has an opportunity to step up when it concludes its upcoming negotiations with the Claims Conference, and the Claims Conference leaders must recognize that Germany can do more for survivors, she added. Those leaders at the Claims Conference must not accept anything less than a comprehensive, permanent, and accountable commitment to fully fund survivors medically prescribed needs. Allowing once again for a modest increase when so much more is needed is not consistent with Germanys past statements of responsibility, would defeat the purpose of the Claims Conference, and would tragically force tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors to continue to suffer when we all know the resources exist to provide the care and dignity that survivors worldwide deserve. I urge the Claims Conference and the German government to do the right thing and not settle for anything less than what is really and truly needed.

In recent months, Ros-Lehtinen has focused on trying to help Holocaust survivors.Last year, Ros-Lehtinen and other members of the Florida delegation called on Germany provide more financial assistance to Holocaust survivors and they cheered when that nation announced it would lift caps on assistance to Holocaust survivors for home care.In April 2016, Ros-Lehtinen joined Florida Democrats U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch to bring out a measure urging Germany to fulfill its moral responsibility to Holocaust survivors and urgently provide the financial resources necessary to ensure that Survivors live in dignity and comfort in their remaining years. They were joined by Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, in the Senate. Back in 2014, Nelson and Collins held a meeting of the Senate Aging Committee focused on Holocaust survivors.

In October, Nelson and Ros-Lehtinen teamed up to introduce a bill helping Holocaust survivors and their heirs with insurance claims.Nelson and Ros-Lehtinen brought out the Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act of 2016 with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and California Democrats U.S. Reps. John Garemendi and Brad Sherman as co-sponsors. After World War Two, many Holocaust victims families and survivors filed insurance claims only to find them rejected due to a lack of paperwork including death certificates and policy papers which were often seized or destroyed by the Nazis and their allies. Nelsons and Ros-Lehtinens bill would make insurance companies reveal Holocaust-era policyholders and permit beneficiaries of Holocaust insurance policies and their heirs to bring suits in U.S. courts to recover any proceeds under the policies to which they may be entitled.

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How these teachers learned to teach the Holocaust | The Times of … – The Times of Israel

NEW YORK (JTA) When Megan Corbin was in school, she learned about the Holocaust as an optimistic story.

Her grade school, she said, highlighted Anne Frank as the voice of hope, and that really wasnt the reality.

Now, as an eighth-grade language arts teacher outside of Seattle, she teaches about victims, perpetrators and civilians who were bystanders to the genocide or who rescued Jews. She asks her students some of whom are refugees from dictatorships to delve into questions of right and wrong that arose during the Holocaust. Next year, Corbin plans to devote more time to examining Jewish life in Europe before 1939, and the context that allowed the Holocaust to occur.

To understand the Holocaust is not just to understand what happened during the years we talk about, she said. Its to understand a much broader context of what happened before, and understand anti-Semitism and how it was so ingrained into society. It didnt just happen out of thin air.

To understand the Holocaust is not just to understand what happened during the years we talk about

Corbin was one of 23 teachers who attended a seminar in New York this week on how to teach the Holocaust to public school students. The program aimed to expand the educators understanding beyond, as one teacher put it, boxcars from Berlin to Birkenau, and give students pedagogical tools to communicate the scope and depth of one of historys worst humanitarian crimes.

Many teachers, while they might try to teach the Holocaust, if they dont know the history, they might have trouble teaching it well, said Stanlee Stahl, executive vice president of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, which supports families of non-Jewish families that rescued Holocaust victims and runs the seminar for teachers.

Many teachers who teach Anne Frank give it a happy ending: In spite of everything, I still believe that people really are good at heart, Stahl said, quoting Franks diary. I think she would have rather lived. Rescue is part of the narrative, [but] it is a small part of the narrative. You should not go in and teach rescue and nothing else.

Megan Corbin, shown in front center with her Seattle-area language arts class, emphasizes the individual choices involved in the Holocaust. (Courtesy of Corbin/via JTA)

Eight states now mandate genocide education beginning in either kindergarten or middle school, and running through high school. Legislators from 20 additional states have pledged to introduce legislation that would require public schools to teach about the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide and other genocides.

The seminar approached the Holocaust topic by topic, ranging from medical practices in the Third Reich to life in the ghettos to civilian collaborators in occupied countries. Much of the curriculum was devoted to providing context around the genocide itself. In one lecture Michael Steinlauf, director of the Gratz College Holocaust and Genocide Studies Program in Philadelphia, provided a detailed portrayal of Jewish life in Europe on the eve of the Holocaust, then spoke about life in the Nazi ghettos.

Were not looking at a world that was primarily old Jews with payes

Steinlauf told JTA that his goal is to move students beyond a Fiddler on the Roof picture of European Jewry. While the image people have is usually of religious shtetls, he noted that European Jews were largely young and cosmopolitan, living mostly in cities.

Were not looking at a world that was primarily old Jews with payes, he said, referring to the sidecurls sported by religious Jewish men. They had camps, they had study groups, they had libraries, they went hiking together.

After every lecture, the teachers gathered in groups to discuss the best pedagogical methods to communicate what they had just learned. After the Steinlauf lecture, teachers suggestions included having the class produce a newspaper about Jewish life in the ghettos and comparing the elements of daily life in the ghettos and Japanese internment camps in America.

But the teachers dont bring everything they learn back to the classroom. Sometimes, said Ginni Stickney of Kansas City, Missouri, teaching the most gruesome details of the Holocaust to children can end up seeming disrespectful to the victims.

Anne Frank (L) plays with her friend Hanneli Goslar (R) on the Merwedeplein square in Amsterdam, May 1941. (AP Photo/Anne Frank House Amsterdam/Anne Frank Fonds Basel photo collections)

I started to censor the images, said Stickney, who teaches social studies to eighth-graders. It was really important for us to see every victim as a person. When youre showing these graphic images, you start to think, If this was my family member, is this how I would want my family to be remembered?

The lessons of the Holocaust hit closer to home for teachers whose schools either have gangs for whom violence is a daily part of life or a large number of refugee children. Corbin teaches children from Myanmar, whose regime has been accused of genocide against stateless Rohingya Muslims, a connection she notes in class.

This is a communal effort. It doesnt just stay within the classroom

I will call it out and I will say, These things or similar experiences are so real for some of us in the room, for people in our community who live next door to us, she said. This is a communal effort. It doesnt just stay within the classroom.

Stahl said the seminar doesnt take political positions, but does note parallels between US refugee policy in the 1930s and today. The goal, she said, is to make the lessons of the Holocaust relevant to all Americans.

Teachers must be relevant to today, and by using the lessons from the past, they can teach the present into the future, she said. When you look at refugee policy, you see the doors of the world were closed to the Jews, and teachers can take it and extrapolate it to today.

Jews arriving at Auschwitz in 1944. (Wikimedia Commons/via JTA)

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: An ongoing holocaust – The Northwest Florida Daily News

Re: Letter, June 18, Trump is not Hitler

The letter writer is correct: Trump is not Hitler and neither was Obama before him. Bush was not Hitler either, and neither were the tea partiers, no matter what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

With all the comparisons to Hitler, we lose sight of the one evil in our society that does compare to the Nazi Holocaust. While some 20 million people died in Nazi death camps over five years, twice that many are killed by abortion every year around the world. In this country, 60 million innocent human beings have been killed by abortion since 1973 three times the Nazis death toll.

This modern holocaust of abortion has a leading organization: Planned Parenthood. Like the Nazi party, Planned Parenthood dehumanizes a group of people. For the Nazis it was Jews; for Planned Parenthood it is the unborn. Like the Nazis, Planned Parenthood spreads its big lie with an active propaganda machine. Like the Nazis, Planned Parenthood claims to benefit society. Like the Nazis, Planned Parenthood has a willing audience of people who long for an easy solution to their problems.

And like the Nazis, the way of Planned Parenthood ends in death and destruction.

John F. Fay, Mary Esther

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: An ongoing holocaust – The Northwest Florida Daily News

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The coach who rose from the Holocaust’s ashes to dominate European soccer – The Times of Israel

LONDON On May 23, 1990, Eusbio da Silva Ferreira considered by many to be one of the greatest soccer players of all time took a short trip to the Jewish section of Viennas central cemetery to pray by the grave of the late Bla Guttmann, a Hungarian Jew and soccer legend, buried there in 1981.

Eusbio, as he was known to fans, along with the rest of his Portuguese soccer squad, Benefica, were to take on Italian football giants AC Milan in Viennas Prater stadium later that day in the European Cup final.

The former Benfica player was hoping to break a losing streak that had supposedly cursed Benfica for nearly three decades.

In May 1962, with Guttmann as manager, Benfica had trounced the mighty Real Madrid 5-3 in the Olympic stadium in Amsterdam as the club claimed their second European Cup in a row.

But Benficas astounding success in Europe was short lived. Following his two consecutive European Cup victories with Benfica in 61 and 62, Guttmann walked out on the club when the board of directors rejected his demand for a pay rise.

Apparently Guttmann told those holding the purse strings of the club at the time that Benfica would not win another European Cup for another 100 years.

David Bolchover, author of The Greatest Comeback. (Daniel Spellar Photography)

The story is most likely an urban myth, but since 1962 Benfica have appeared in eight European finals and have lost every single one.

Whatever the real truth of this sporting mythology, there can be no denying that Guttmann was a born winner.

Guttmann holds an astounding record of success in European football that no other Jewish coach has even come close to before or after.

I would say Guttmann is the the greatest Jewish coach, and probably the greatest Jew in the history of football, says British writer David Bolchover, as we sit down to discuss his new biography on Guttmann entitled The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide To Football Glory.

It would be very difficult to argue against that. No other Jewish coach has won the European Cup. And Gutmann won it twice, he adds.

Guttmann was pretty typical of a Jewish sportsman of his time, living a peripatetic lifestyle with no loyalty to any club or state.

No other Jewish coach has won the European Cup. And Gutmann won it twice

There were a lot of Jews who moved around [in football] a bit before the war, says Bolchover. But nobody moved around quite like Guttmann. He crossed borders 21 times in his career. And he lived in 14 countries. He was the first to really push in a public way for the value of the football coach.

Whenever Gutmann was challenged at a club, he would just say, Right, Im off. He felt no loyalty to any country or any team. And felt no rootedness in that respect, he says.

The stats from Guttmanns career speak volumes. In addition to his two cups, his victories as a coach include three Hungarian league championships and three Portuguese league championships.

Bela Guttmans Vienna tombstone, with his Hebrew name, Baruch ben Moshe Avraham. (Courtesy)

He managed clubs across a number of countries, including positions at So Paulo, Ciocanul Bucharest, and AC Milan. Guttmann even coached the Austrian national team for a short time.

His brief stint in the world of international management ended in public controversy. Guttmann took on the role in 1964 and it was his first job in Austria since he had fled the Nazis there in 1938. The Austrian team recorded home victories against Hungary and the Soviet Union.

Pretty quickly, however, Guttmann sensed from both the Austrian Football Association, the press, and his own team, open feelings of anti-Semitism that were pretty typical of post war Austria. He was even accused by some as acting like a wonder Rabbi in training sessions.

Bela Guttman coaching in Austria. (Courtesy)

Guttmann gave a candid interview to an Austrian weekly shortly after his resignation, where he said, I always thought that it doesnt matter at all in sport if somebody is Catholic, Protestant or Jewish. But now, when I have to endure the exact opposite, I am really sad.

Guttmanns biographer says that while his latest book is one that documents the career of a European soccer legend, its also a story about Jewish history in Europe.

Cover of The Greatest Comeback by British writer David Bolchover. (courtesy)

Guttmann suffered from discrimination and racism throughout his career, says Bolchover.

But he put these things aside and managed to conquer the demons in European society and achieve the success he did. The Guttmann story really mirrors the Jewish story as a whole in the 20th century, he adds.

Guttmanns achievements as a player, meanwhile, included a Hungarian league championship; an Austrian league championship; a United States Open Cup, and 4 international cups for Hungary.

And yet, in his native country despite the fact he is the only Hungarian-born coach to lift the European Cup Guttmann barely gets a passing footnote in the countrys sporting history.

Bela Guttman in his Milan uniform. (Courtesy)

The communists took over Hungary [between 1947 and] 1949, and they set their own mythology, says Bolchover. The heroes of Hungarian football were the Golden Team of the 1950s because they were projected as this great football team that had these great communist values. And also the fact that Guttmann was a Jew.

Anti-Semitism was still very strong in Hungary at this time, and hence why he is not lionized throughout Hungary and indeed the world, Bolchover says.

Bolchover claims understanding Guttmanns Jewishness is central to the mans life, achievements, and often forgotten legacy.

Moreover, to really understand the Guttmann story in all of its complexity, tragedy, and glory, one really needs to go back to Fin-de-Sicle, Budapest.

The central European city that Guttmann was born into on January 1899 was one bursting with a vibrant Jewish life. The city had even earned the nickname Judapest among some anti-Semites of the time such was the domination of Jews amongst the urban chattering classes, in professions like law and journalism in particular.

In sports, Jews played a similar role too.

The Hakoah Vienna football club with the Star of David featuring prominently on their uniforms and flag. (Courtesy)

Guttmann played two seasons in the early 1920s with Hungarian club MTK, a football club that had Jewish origins. Jews dominated the MTK team during these golden years, where Gutmann helped the club stroll to the championship in 1920-21.

By 1922, at age 23, Guttmann would transfer to a football club called Hakoah Vienna, in the Austrian capital located just 250 kilometers (155 miles) away from Budapest.

Sporing the blue and white colors of the Jewish national movement, and with a large Star of David on their shirts, the team was more of a Jewish sporting movement than simply a football club.

Bela Guttman. (Courtesy)

Bolchover says this was primarily because its political ethos was grounded in Zionism.

There was more of a Zionist movement in the highly politically charged Vienna than there was in Budapest at that time, he says.

And that created this football club, Hakoah Vienna, who were founded in 1909, when Karl Lueger the anti-Semitic mayor in Vienna was in power, and when Adolf Hitler was living there too, he adds.

The team inspired great passion and popularity among young Zionists and Jews in Vienna at the time. It inspired hatred from the local population, too.

Jews were very prominent in the world of football during this period of history. And Hakoah Vienna was a club that was leading the charge, Bolchover explains.

Hakoah Vienna used to tour around the Jewish world and were hugely successful. They won the Austrian league, which was the first fully professional league in mainland Europe, he says.

They broke the attendance records for soccer tours they played in the US. And when they arrived in Warsaw in 1924, for example, 10,000 people met them at the train station. There was this hysteria about Hakoah Vienna. And of course, Gutmann was one of the star players on that team.

I hear Jews all the time saying, we make better accountants than sportspeople, dont we?

Bolchover says the more research he carried out for this book, the more surprised he became to learn that so few people know about the influence Jews had on prewar European football.

I hear Jews all the time saying, We make better accountants than sportspeople, dont we? Well, that might be the case in Europe now, but thats because there are not many Jews left. But that wasnt the case before the war. Jews were at the forefront of the football world back then, says Bolchover.

Principally, Jewish influence in European football ended because of the Holocaust.

Bolchover cites, for instance, how Dr. Lhner-Beda the Jewish founder of Hakoah Vienna was just one of many Hungarian Jews with a passionate interest in football who was later murdered in Auschwitz.

Bela Guttmann with the Hakoah Vienna club. (Courtesy)

The Jews who could have talked about this [great football era] were murdered. And the ones who did survive were scattered around the world and just wanted to get on with their lives, says Bolchover.

Guttmann was one of those survivors. But how exactly he escaped the Holocaust is a narrative that up until recently has been clouded in rumor, half truth, and false facts.

The Jews who could have talked about this [great football era] were murdered

Some accounts hitherto including articles posted on CNN and the New York Times website of Guttmanns time during the war claim he escaped to Switzerland. But the truth is that Guttmann actually stayed in the jpest district of Budapest, while his fellow Jews were being rounded up to be slaughtered.

Guttmann survived the [Holocaust] by hiding in the attic of his girlfriends brother, who was a hairdresser. Later that year he was in a labor camp and he escaped, says Bolchover.

When exactly Guttmann attempted to run from the Nazis in Budapest is hard to pinpoint. But Bolchover believes a good estimate places him going into hiding sometime in the weeks leading up to May 1944, just as the Hungarian Holocaust was about to reach its hellish apotheosis.

Guttmanns survival tale is all the more remarkable when one considers that nearly half of the Jewish population in Budapest in 1944 250,000 were all murdered in the Holocaust, and that conservative estimates put 600,000 Hungarian Jews total, among them Guttmanns father and sister, murdered by the Nazis.

Bela Guttmann with a New York Hakoah banner in New York City. (Courtesy)

Guttmanns life after the war continued to be one filled with drama, where the smell of death was never too far away.

On Saturday, April 2, 1955, six weeks after being sacked from a managerial position at AC Milan, Guttmann lost control of a car he was driving, killing one teenager and seriously injuring another.

The owner of the car, sitting in the passenger seat, was Dezso Solti, who was later involved in the biggest match fixing scandal in the history of football by bribing Italian referees on behalf of clubs in the 1960s and 1970s.

Both Guttmann and Solti fled the scene, says Bolchover.

Eventually Guttmann was given a sentence of six months in prison. But he was given an immediate pardon of six months, and a fine. What is interesting is that very few people talked about it in the Italian press at the time, Bolchover adds.

Bolchover claims Guttmann always lived life in the fast lane and close to the edge. When living in New York as a player for both the New York Giants and New York Hakoah Guttmann became involved in an illegal speakeasy business that sold booze during the prohibition era. It earned him a substantial amount of money. And it was around this time too in Las Vegas that Guttmann developed a serious addiction to gambling.

It was a habit the Jewish player and coach would sustain right up until his death in Vienna in 1981.

From the evidence that we have, I suspect that Guttmann was a big gambler. He lost a lot of his money. There might have been some left by the time he retired. He also worked until he was 75 in jobs that really didnt make sense for such a great coach. So I suspect he might have needed the money, Bolchover concludes.

Bela Guttmann, to the right of the man in the suit, and the Hakoah Vienna football club with a trophy. (Courtesy)

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The coach who rose from the Holocaust’s ashes to dominate European soccer – The Times of Israel

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‘We didn’t want Exodus to Shanghai to be like the rest of WWIIsad and traumatic.’ – Tablet Magazine

Exodus to Shanghai is a film that claims to tell the story of Ho Feng-Shan, Chinese consul for Vienna, a rescuer of Jews in prewar Austria. While indeed based on true events, it may be the first Holocaust film that heavily features martial-arts-action scenes. The cast includes German actors, as well as Romanians, some Asians, and two young blond models. It was completed in Israel and sponsored by the Fashion TV channel. Sounds delusional? Not in the eyes of the filmmakers. The production of Exodus to Shanghai was initiated by the founder and sole owner of Fashion TV, Michel Adam, a 67-year-old Jewish businessman. Born in Warsaw as Michel Adam Lisowski, his life took him from his homeland Poland to Vienna, where his family relocated in the 1950s. From there, he went to Princeton University as a math student. He then moved to Thailand, where he started his textile business. In the mid-1990s, he moved to Paris, where he opened some nightlife spots and founded Fashion TV, which is basically an endless catwalk running 24/7 on television, with some trendy parties here and there. Adam also has strong ties with Israel, where he was detained in 2005 after he was accused by a model of sexually harassing her. The idea to make the movie was sparked in Adams mind in June 2014 while having a Shabbat dinner in Shanghai with the local rabbi, who told his honorable guest about the Chinese Schindler who helped Viennese Jews escape Nazi-occupied Austria in the late 1930s by secretly stamping thousands of immigration visas. As I live in Vienna I went after the story, and I found out that the office of Dr. Ho was 100 meters away from the Fashion TV Office, Adam told me in an interview. The characters and incidents are based on many stories told by my family and by real-life people of Jewish heritage, who I met on my multiple journeys from Vienna and Israel to China. I got to live out my interpretation of this story. Adam said that other than world history, it was his own family history that pushed him into finding the funds for the not-so-low-budget production. The main inspiration for the film is the life story of my mother, he said. She and her family left Europe for Palestine, while her sister and her husband went to China through Russia. She was 17 years old in 1939 when the war started and she pursued her path to survival. Our generation does not have to go through such challenges, but I always ask myself this question: What choice would I have made, if I would have ended up in a similar situation? Would I have been able to do something better? Is Exodus to Shanghai something better? It depends whether you are a Steven Spielberg or Jackie Chan kind of guy. The film, directed by Anthony Hickox, is set in 1938 Vienna, which is ruled by local Hitler sympathizer Hermann Deutsch (played by German actor Markus Von Lingen), the movies villain, a local goon turned Nazi commissar. Deutsch always felt underprivileged near the rich and well-educated Morgenstern family, and he coveted their art collection and beautiful daughter Fannia (played by Israeli model Yaara Benbenishty). Now, with a swastika on his arm and in his heart, he can use his executive power in order to exploit, blackmail, and torment his Jewish neighbors. While her parents find it hard to leave it all behind, Fannia, her sister Rivka (Israeli model and singer Jahni Raz), and brother Moshe (Srulik Pniel) decide to run away. But where to? This is where Dr. Ho comes into the picturehe grants them visas to China, while his nephew Bruce makes sure they will make it through the violent attack of Hermann and his gang. Bruce, as you can imagine, is a Bruce Lee-like character (played by Vietnamese-French model Alexandre Nguyen) who kicks Nazi asses. Between one fight and another, he also takes the time to exchange kisses and some fists with Fannia, who soon becomes a well-trained lethal kung fu fighter herself. She will have her share of Jewish vengeancethink Kill Bill meets Inglourious Basterds. As in Inglourious Basterds, Exodus to Shanghai also feeds off the theme of Jewish vengeance. Whether its Fannia with her fists or her aristocratic parents with their machine guns, the sight of Nazi troops being massacred by Jews gives the movie a nice share of the Jewsploitation marketnot really a kosher one, but enjoyable for some. We saw during the screening a lot of people who enjoyed seeing the Nazis beaten. At the end, the main star Yaara, a violinst, shoots a key Gestapo guy and provided proof that she can protect herself, Adam said. We wanted to show a stronger side of the Jews and show that they fought back against the Nazis. That the Nazis were power-loving, drug-hungry evil men and that the people who believed in justice fought back. But with all due respect to his Jewish heritage and pride, Adam is a seasoned businessman who knows that the real audience and market for this movieif anyis based in China. In todays film economy, Western producers, even the big Hollywood ones, are looking east to find some financial relief for their flopping movies. While Adam wont admit that, it is pretty clear that this is the main reasoning behind inserting wild martial-arts scenes into a Holocaust movie. Before the production of Exodus to Shanghai, Dr. Ho was fairly unknown among those that did the right thing, Adam said. We were able to present his story and show how kind and heroic he was to those in need. We believe that this topic should never be forgotten, and thank the Chinese people, he added. In real life, to the extent that it matters, Dr. Ho was a master of bureaucracy, not of martial arts. This is his Chinese-keit in the view of the filmmakers. Martial arts have been associated with the Chinese for thousands of years. We wanted to bring the story closer to the Chinese and put them in a good light, show cultural customs such as martial arts, disguises, etc., which are effective against villains such as Hitler, Adam explained. Additionally we didnt want the movie to be like the rest of WWIIsad and traumatic. Instead, through the use of action, we were able to portray that defiance can lead to happiness, survival, love, marriage. Martial arts protected the Jews in the past and today. Jahni Raz, the 21-year-old Australian-born Israeli singer and model who was cast for the production by her agent, who has close ties with Adam, felt privileged to be part of this inventive retelling of history, she said. As young Rivka, she gets to perform as a vocalist and give her best Marlene Dietrich impersonation while singing Lili Marleen. She also contributed to the movies soundtrack. When I was offered to play a singer in the time of the Holocaust, I was really moved by the idea. It was an opportunity to combine singing and acting, Raz noted. Of course, she also gets to hit people, as her fragile nave character becomes a Nazi killer in the final scenes. I believe that the combination of the genres in the film expresses the directors creativity, Raz said. He used it to tell an important story in a way that the younger generation can relate to. The movie deals with a tragic time, while demonstrating a feeling of strength, will to fight, and even win. We didnt want Exodus to Shanghai to be like the rest of WWIIsad and traumatic. It is hard to watch Exodus to Shanghai and not think about the Holocaust survivors, and the way they would react to the way their suffering is being exploited as an action flick. For his part, Adam sticks to his message of defiance: Hopefully this movie shows the fight against evil and the hope that many felt during that time, he explained. We will always be thankful to those who fought and the Chinese for helping the Jews make their exodus. Mutual respect and sympathy held by the Chinese and the Jews that contributed to the preservation of human dignity and world progress in general. Our intention was not to hurt the memory but to show that there is a way out for some. Holocaust survivors are in the film, showing that if a situation is difficult and you escape, make an exodus, you survive. After wrapping the shoot in Romania, Adam and his crew had their exodus to Israel, where a local visual-effects team took over. Although it has many Israeli actors and crew members, Exodus to Shanghai was never considered as an Israeli production and never had a theatrical release in the Holy Land (or anywhere else in the world for that matter: it is available for download). As we wanted to show typical Jewish faces and actors, we went to Israel for Jewish roles, Adam said. At the same time, we discovered that postproduction and music scoring [in Israel] were at an excellent level and reasonably priced, which gave us the confidence to develop these resources for future projects. Now that Exodus to Shanghai is out, Adam is ready for his next planned productions: Falconman, whichhe describes as a new superhero who fights corruption based in the world of megasports such as soccer, Grand Prix, etc., and a another Holocaust movie, The Eichmann Conspiracy, about how the Nazis manipulated Germans to be violent anti-Semites. It is a rare universe in which Falconman and Eichmann can co-exist on the same plane of meaning. In the work of Michel Adam, that universe has found life. *** You can help support Tablets unique brand of Jewish journalism. Click here to donate today. Amir Bogen is a film journalist.

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Preserving Artifacts, Memories of Holocaust Survivors – Chicago Tonight | WTTW

Chicago Tonight | WTTW Preserving Artifacts, Memories of Holocaust Survivors Chicago Tonight | WTTW Since 1993, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., has worked to educate visitors about the millions of people imprisoned and killed in the 1930s and '40s by Nazi Germany. The exhibit's permanent collection is replete with artifacts of …

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One year after downtown shooting, Dallas Holocaust Museum continues partnership with local law enforcement to … – Dallas Business Journal

One year after downtown shooting, Dallas Holocaust Museum continues partnership with local law enforcement to … Dallas Business Journal Last September, the Dallas Holocaust Museum implemented a 4 1/2 hour program for officers to tour the museum and analyze the role of law enforcement in an evolving community. The program, known as Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons of the …

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Re-dedication ceremony planned for damaged Boston Holocaust Memorial – Metro US

When Bostons Holocaust Memorial was vandalized in June, Jewish community leaders spoke about how they will rebuild. On Tuesday, those leaders, Holocaust survivors and state and local officials will come together at a rededication ceremony for the memorial. Gov. Charlie Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh will join the Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston at the memorial in Carmen Park on Congress Street at 1 p.m. Tuesday. The public is welcomed to attend the rededication as well, organizers said. James E. Isaac, a 21-year-old Roxbury man, was charged with throwing a rock at the memorial in the early hours of June 28, shattering a glass panel that was etched with the numbers tattooed on the arms of Jewish people during the Holocaust. Isaac pleaded not guilty to vandalism. His attorneys said that he had a history of mental illness and is struggling considerably, the Boston Globe reported. Yet regardless of motive, the destruction of the sacred place had a strong impact on the community, others said. The morning after the incident, Israel Arbeiter, a Holocaust survivor, spoke about when he and his wife learned that the memorial had been damaged. It was six in the morning that my wife came into our bedroom, she was shaking and crying. She said, They destroyed the memorial,’ he said in June. The memorial consists of six towers to represent the six million Jews who died during the Holocaust, the six years during which the Final Solution took place and the six main death camps where the majority of European Jews were murdered, an official said. There are 132 panes of glass in total, including the one that was shattered. At the rededication ceremony on Tuesday, a new glass panel will be unveiled. The officials set to attend will echo the sentiments expressed by so many last week: our community is strong, we stand together to help each other, and we reject hatred, the event listing reads.

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Centre needs YOUR vote to help keep Holocaust testimony alive – LincolnshireLive

A groundbreaking project which captures 3D recordings of survivors recounting their experience of the Holocaust is up for a National Lottery Award – and it needs your help. The innovative Forever Project at the National Holocaust Centre at Laxton needs votes to secure a 5,000 prize to help continue its work for future generations. The Forever Project uses interactive 3D recordings of Holocaust survivors talking about their harrowing experiences. Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Centre has collated thousands of questions typically asked by schoolchildren and put them to survivors, so that using cutting-edge technology future generations will be able to have conversations with digital recordings of survivors are they die. Nearly half a million children have had an audience with survivors at the centre over the last 20 years. But it may only be a few more years before they are no longer able to deliver their testimonies in person. Through The Forever Project, children can ask survivors questions for years into the future, with software matching the question with the closest recorded answer. Sarah Coward, development director of the National Holocaust Centre, says:It is a sad reality that Holocaust survivors wont be around for many more years to share their stories. Already one survivor has very sadly passed away since recording his testimony for The Forever Project. “The timing of this project is absolutely crucial if we are not to lose these first-hand insights, and that is what makes The Forever Project so special. “Winning the Award would mean such a lot to all the survivors involved, and if we were lucky enough to win the 5,000 prize, it would contribute to making these special testimonies available more widely for this most time-sensitive of projects. The personal testimony of survivors describing what they lived through is such a powerful tool in challenging prejudice and intolerance. In todays world, their stories are more important than ever. Steven Frank, a survivor of the Theresienstadt concentration camp, and the first survivor to be filmed as part of the project, said: To have an eyewitness account is so incredibly powerful. And this is about the nearest that you can get without actually being there. Voting for the National Lottery Awards runs until midnight on July 27. The public can vote online at http://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/project/forever-project or by calling 0844 836 9699

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Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Continues Efforts to Help Holocaust Survivors – Sunshine State News

Towards the end of last week, retiring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the first woman to ever lead the House Foreign Affairs Committee and currently the chairwoman of the House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, continued her calls for Germany to do more for Holocaust survivors. With the German government meeting the Claims Conference for the latest annual agreement over how much to provide Holocaust survivors, Ros-Lehtinen said that nation needed to do more. Last fall, both the House and the Senate unanimously agreed that Germany must do more to ensure that all Holocaust survivors can live their remaining years in the comfort and dignity that they deserve, Ros-Lehtinen said on Thursday. We urged our partners, Germany, to reaffirm its commitment to comprehensively address the medical, mental health, and long-term care needs of survivors by guaranteeing full funding to meet those needs. Now Germany has an opportunity to step up when it concludes its upcoming negotiations with the Claims Conference, and the Claims Conference leaders must recognize that Germany can do more for survivors, she added. Those leaders at the Claims Conference must not accept anything less than a comprehensive, permanent, and accountable commitment to fully fund survivors medically prescribed needs. Allowing once again for a modest increase when so much more is needed is not consistent with Germanys past statements of responsibility, would defeat the purpose of the Claims Conference, and would tragically force tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors to continue to suffer when we all know the resources exist to provide the care and dignity that survivors worldwide deserve. I urge the Claims Conference and the German government to do the right thing and not settle for anything less than what is really and truly needed. In recent months, Ros-Lehtinen has focused on trying to help Holocaust survivors.Last year, Ros-Lehtinen and other members of the Florida delegation called on Germany provide more financial assistance to Holocaust survivors and they cheered when that nation announced it would lift caps on assistance to Holocaust survivors for home care.In April 2016, Ros-Lehtinen joined Florida Democrats U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch to bring out a measure urging Germany to fulfill its moral responsibility to Holocaust survivors and urgently provide the financial resources necessary to ensure that Survivors live in dignity and comfort in their remaining years. They were joined by Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, in the Senate. Back in 2014, Nelson and Collins held a meeting of the Senate Aging Committee focused on Holocaust survivors. In October, Nelson and Ros-Lehtinen teamed up to introduce a bill helping Holocaust survivors and their heirs with insurance claims.Nelson and Ros-Lehtinen brought out the Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act of 2016 with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and California Democrats U.S. Reps. John Garemendi and Brad Sherman as co-sponsors. After World War Two, many Holocaust victims families and survivors filed insurance claims only to find them rejected due to a lack of paperwork including death certificates and policy papers which were often seized or destroyed by the Nazis and their allies. Nelsons and Ros-Lehtinens bill would make insurance companies reveal Holocaust-era policyholders and permit beneficiaries of Holocaust insurance policies and their heirs to bring suits in U.S. courts to recover any proceeds under the policies to which they may be entitled.

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How these teachers learned to teach the Holocaust | The Times of … – The Times of Israel

NEW YORK (JTA) When Megan Corbin was in school, she learned about the Holocaust as an optimistic story. Her grade school, she said, highlighted Anne Frank as the voice of hope, and that really wasnt the reality. Now, as an eighth-grade language arts teacher outside of Seattle, she teaches about victims, perpetrators and civilians who were bystanders to the genocide or who rescued Jews. She asks her students some of whom are refugees from dictatorships to delve into questions of right and wrong that arose during the Holocaust. Next year, Corbin plans to devote more time to examining Jewish life in Europe before 1939, and the context that allowed the Holocaust to occur. To understand the Holocaust is not just to understand what happened during the years we talk about, she said. Its to understand a much broader context of what happened before, and understand anti-Semitism and how it was so ingrained into society. It didnt just happen out of thin air. To understand the Holocaust is not just to understand what happened during the years we talk about Corbin was one of 23 teachers who attended a seminar in New York this week on how to teach the Holocaust to public school students. The program aimed to expand the educators understanding beyond, as one teacher put it, boxcars from Berlin to Birkenau, and give students pedagogical tools to communicate the scope and depth of one of historys worst humanitarian crimes. Many teachers, while they might try to teach the Holocaust, if they dont know the history, they might have trouble teaching it well, said Stanlee Stahl, executive vice president of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, which supports families of non-Jewish families that rescued Holocaust victims and runs the seminar for teachers. Many teachers who teach Anne Frank give it a happy ending: In spite of everything, I still believe that people really are good at heart, Stahl said, quoting Franks diary. I think she would have rather lived. Rescue is part of the narrative, [but] it is a small part of the narrative. You should not go in and teach rescue and nothing else. Megan Corbin, shown in front center with her Seattle-area language arts class, emphasizes the individual choices involved in the Holocaust. (Courtesy of Corbin/via JTA) Eight states now mandate genocide education beginning in either kindergarten or middle school, and running through high school. Legislators from 20 additional states have pledged to introduce legislation that would require public schools to teach about the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide and other genocides. The seminar approached the Holocaust topic by topic, ranging from medical practices in the Third Reich to life in the ghettos to civilian collaborators in occupied countries. Much of the curriculum was devoted to providing context around the genocide itself. In one lecture Michael Steinlauf, director of the Gratz College Holocaust and Genocide Studies Program in Philadelphia, provided a detailed portrayal of Jewish life in Europe on the eve of the Holocaust, then spoke about life in the Nazi ghettos. Were not looking at a world that was primarily old Jews with payes Steinlauf told JTA that his goal is to move students beyond a Fiddler on the Roof picture of European Jewry. While the image people have is usually of religious shtetls, he noted that European Jews were largely young and cosmopolitan, living mostly in cities. Were not looking at a world that was primarily old Jews with payes, he said, referring to the sidecurls sported by religious Jewish men. They had camps, they had study groups, they had libraries, they went hiking together. After every lecture, the teachers gathered in groups to discuss the best pedagogical methods to communicate what they had just learned. After the Steinlauf lecture, teachers suggestions included having the class produce a newspaper about Jewish life in the ghettos and comparing the elements of daily life in the ghettos and Japanese internment camps in America. But the teachers dont bring everything they learn back to the classroom. Sometimes, said Ginni Stickney of Kansas City, Missouri, teaching the most gruesome details of the Holocaust to children can end up seeming disrespectful to the victims. Anne Frank (L) plays with her friend Hanneli Goslar (R) on the Merwedeplein square in Amsterdam, May 1941. (AP Photo/Anne Frank House Amsterdam/Anne Frank Fonds Basel photo collections) I started to censor the images, said Stickney, who teaches social studies to eighth-graders. It was really important for us to see every victim as a person. When youre showing these graphic images, you start to think, If this was my family member, is this how I would want my family to be remembered? The lessons of the Holocaust hit closer to home for teachers whose schools either have gangs for whom violence is a daily part of life or a large number of refugee children. Corbin teaches children from Myanmar, whose regime has been accused of genocide against stateless Rohingya Muslims, a connection she notes in class. This is a communal effort. It doesnt just stay within the classroom I will call it out and I will say, These things or similar experiences are so real for some of us in the room, for people in our community who live next door to us, she said. This is a communal effort. It doesnt just stay within the classroom. Stahl said the seminar doesnt take political positions, but does note parallels between US refugee policy in the 1930s and today. The goal, she said, is to make the lessons of the Holocaust relevant to all Americans. Teachers must be relevant to today, and by using the lessons from the past, they can teach the present into the future, she said. When you look at refugee policy, you see the doors of the world were closed to the Jews, and teachers can take it and extrapolate it to today. Jews arriving at Auschwitz in 1944. (Wikimedia Commons/via JTA)

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: An ongoing holocaust – The Northwest Florida Daily News

Re: Letter, June 18, Trump is not Hitler The letter writer is correct: Trump is not Hitler and neither was Obama before him. Bush was not Hitler either, and neither were the tea partiers, no matter what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. With all the comparisons to Hitler, we lose sight of the one evil in our society that does compare to the Nazi Holocaust. While some 20 million people died in Nazi death camps over five years, twice that many are killed by abortion every year around the world. In this country, 60 million innocent human beings have been killed by abortion since 1973 three times the Nazis death toll. This modern holocaust of abortion has a leading organization: Planned Parenthood. Like the Nazi party, Planned Parenthood dehumanizes a group of people. For the Nazis it was Jews; for Planned Parenthood it is the unborn. Like the Nazis, Planned Parenthood spreads its big lie with an active propaganda machine. Like the Nazis, Planned Parenthood claims to benefit society. Like the Nazis, Planned Parenthood has a willing audience of people who long for an easy solution to their problems. And like the Nazis, the way of Planned Parenthood ends in death and destruction. John F. Fay, Mary Esther

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The coach who rose from the Holocaust’s ashes to dominate European soccer – The Times of Israel

LONDON On May 23, 1990, Eusbio da Silva Ferreira considered by many to be one of the greatest soccer players of all time took a short trip to the Jewish section of Viennas central cemetery to pray by the grave of the late Bla Guttmann, a Hungarian Jew and soccer legend, buried there in 1981. Eusbio, as he was known to fans, along with the rest of his Portuguese soccer squad, Benefica, were to take on Italian football giants AC Milan in Viennas Prater stadium later that day in the European Cup final. The former Benfica player was hoping to break a losing streak that had supposedly cursed Benfica for nearly three decades. In May 1962, with Guttmann as manager, Benfica had trounced the mighty Real Madrid 5-3 in the Olympic stadium in Amsterdam as the club claimed their second European Cup in a row. But Benficas astounding success in Europe was short lived. Following his two consecutive European Cup victories with Benfica in 61 and 62, Guttmann walked out on the club when the board of directors rejected his demand for a pay rise. Apparently Guttmann told those holding the purse strings of the club at the time that Benfica would not win another European Cup for another 100 years. David Bolchover, author of The Greatest Comeback. (Daniel Spellar Photography) The story is most likely an urban myth, but since 1962 Benfica have appeared in eight European finals and have lost every single one. Whatever the real truth of this sporting mythology, there can be no denying that Guttmann was a born winner. Guttmann holds an astounding record of success in European football that no other Jewish coach has even come close to before or after. I would say Guttmann is the the greatest Jewish coach, and probably the greatest Jew in the history of football, says British writer David Bolchover, as we sit down to discuss his new biography on Guttmann entitled The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide To Football Glory. It would be very difficult to argue against that. No other Jewish coach has won the European Cup. And Gutmann won it twice, he adds. Guttmann was pretty typical of a Jewish sportsman of his time, living a peripatetic lifestyle with no loyalty to any club or state. No other Jewish coach has won the European Cup. And Gutmann won it twice There were a lot of Jews who moved around [in football] a bit before the war, says Bolchover. But nobody moved around quite like Guttmann. He crossed borders 21 times in his career. And he lived in 14 countries. He was the first to really push in a public way for the value of the football coach. Whenever Gutmann was challenged at a club, he would just say, Right, Im off. He felt no loyalty to any country or any team. And felt no rootedness in that respect, he says. The stats from Guttmanns career speak volumes. In addition to his two cups, his victories as a coach include three Hungarian league championships and three Portuguese league championships. Bela Guttmans Vienna tombstone, with his Hebrew name, Baruch ben Moshe Avraham. (Courtesy) He managed clubs across a number of countries, including positions at So Paulo, Ciocanul Bucharest, and AC Milan. Guttmann even coached the Austrian national team for a short time. His brief stint in the world of international management ended in public controversy. Guttmann took on the role in 1964 and it was his first job in Austria since he had fled the Nazis there in 1938. The Austrian team recorded home victories against Hungary and the Soviet Union. Pretty quickly, however, Guttmann sensed from both the Austrian Football Association, the press, and his own team, open feelings of anti-Semitism that were pretty typical of post war Austria. He was even accused by some as acting like a wonder Rabbi in training sessions. Bela Guttman coaching in Austria. (Courtesy) Guttmann gave a candid interview to an Austrian weekly shortly after his resignation, where he said, I always thought that it doesnt matter at all in sport if somebody is Catholic, Protestant or Jewish. But now, when I have to endure the exact opposite, I am really sad. Guttmanns biographer says that while his latest book is one that documents the career of a European soccer legend, its also a story about Jewish history in Europe. Cover of The Greatest Comeback by British writer David Bolchover. (courtesy) Guttmann suffered from discrimination and racism throughout his career, says Bolchover. But he put these things aside and managed to conquer the demons in European society and achieve the success he did. The Guttmann story really mirrors the Jewish story as a whole in the 20th century, he adds. Guttmanns achievements as a player, meanwhile, included a Hungarian league championship; an Austrian league championship; a United States Open Cup, and 4 international cups for Hungary. And yet, in his native country despite the fact he is the only Hungarian-born coach to lift the European Cup Guttmann barely gets a passing footnote in the countrys sporting history. Bela Guttman in his Milan uniform. (Courtesy) The communists took over Hungary [between 1947 and] 1949, and they set their own mythology, says Bolchover. The heroes of Hungarian football were the Golden Team of the 1950s because they were projected as this great football team that had these great communist values. And also the fact that Guttmann was a Jew. Anti-Semitism was still very strong in Hungary at this time, and hence why he is not lionized throughout Hungary and indeed the world, Bolchover says. Bolchover claims understanding Guttmanns Jewishness is central to the mans life, achievements, and often forgotten legacy. Moreover, to really understand the Guttmann story in all of its complexity, tragedy, and glory, one really needs to go back to Fin-de-Sicle, Budapest. The central European city that Guttmann was born into on January 1899 was one bursting with a vibrant Jewish life. The city had even earned the nickname Judapest among some anti-Semites of the time such was the domination of Jews amongst the urban chattering classes, in professions like law and journalism in particular. In sports, Jews played a similar role too. The Hakoah Vienna football club with the Star of David featuring prominently on their uniforms and flag. (Courtesy) Guttmann played two seasons in the early 1920s with Hungarian club MTK, a football club that had Jewish origins. Jews dominated the MTK team during these golden years, where Gutmann helped the club stroll to the championship in 1920-21. By 1922, at age 23, Guttmann would transfer to a football club called Hakoah Vienna, in the Austrian capital located just 250 kilometers (155 miles) away from Budapest. Sporing the blue and white colors of the Jewish national movement, and with a large Star of David on their shirts, the team was more of a Jewish sporting movement than simply a football club. Bela Guttman. (Courtesy) Bolchover says this was primarily because its political ethos was grounded in Zionism. There was more of a Zionist movement in the highly politically charged Vienna than there was in Budapest at that time, he says. And that created this football club, Hakoah Vienna, who were founded in 1909, when Karl Lueger the anti-Semitic mayor in Vienna was in power, and when Adolf Hitler was living there too, he adds. The team inspired great passion and popularity among young Zionists and Jews in Vienna at the time. It inspired hatred from the local population, too. Jews were very prominent in the world of football during this period of history. And Hakoah Vienna was a club that was leading the charge, Bolchover explains. Hakoah Vienna used to tour around the Jewish world and were hugely successful. They won the Austrian league, which was the first fully professional league in mainland Europe, he says. They broke the attendance records for soccer tours they played in the US. And when they arrived in Warsaw in 1924, for example, 10,000 people met them at the train station. There was this hysteria about Hakoah Vienna. And of course, Gutmann was one of the star players on that team. I hear Jews all the time saying, we make better accountants than sportspeople, dont we? Bolchover says the more research he carried out for this book, the more surprised he became to learn that so few people know about the influence Jews had on prewar European football. I hear Jews all the time saying, We make better accountants than sportspeople, dont we? Well, that might be the case in Europe now, but thats because there are not many Jews left. But that wasnt the case before the war. Jews were at the forefront of the football world back then, says Bolchover. Principally, Jewish influence in European football ended because of the Holocaust. Bolchover cites, for instance, how Dr. Lhner-Beda the Jewish founder of Hakoah Vienna was just one of many Hungarian Jews with a passionate interest in football who was later murdered in Auschwitz. Bela Guttmann with the Hakoah Vienna club. (Courtesy) The Jews who could have talked about this [great football era] were murdered. And the ones who did survive were scattered around the world and just wanted to get on with their lives, says Bolchover. Guttmann was one of those survivors. But how exactly he escaped the Holocaust is a narrative that up until recently has been clouded in rumor, half truth, and false facts. The Jews who could have talked about this [great football era] were murdered Some accounts hitherto including articles posted on CNN and the New York Times website of Guttmanns time during the war claim he escaped to Switzerland. But the truth is that Guttmann actually stayed in the jpest district of Budapest, while his fellow Jews were being rounded up to be slaughtered. Guttmann survived the [Holocaust] by hiding in the attic of his girlfriends brother, who was a hairdresser. Later that year he was in a labor camp and he escaped, says Bolchover. When exactly Guttmann attempted to run from the Nazis in Budapest is hard to pinpoint. But Bolchover believes a good estimate places him going into hiding sometime in the weeks leading up to May 1944, just as the Hungarian Holocaust was about to reach its hellish apotheosis. Guttmanns survival tale is all the more remarkable when one considers that nearly half of the Jewish population in Budapest in 1944 250,000 were all murdered in the Holocaust, and that conservative estimates put 600,000 Hungarian Jews total, among them Guttmanns father and sister, murdered by the Nazis. Bela Guttmann with a New York Hakoah banner in New York City. (Courtesy) Guttmanns life after the war continued to be one filled with drama, where the smell of death was never too far away. On Saturday, April 2, 1955, six weeks after being sacked from a managerial position at AC Milan, Guttmann lost control of a car he was driving, killing one teenager and seriously injuring another. The owner of the car, sitting in the passenger seat, was Dezso Solti, who was later involved in the biggest match fixing scandal in the history of football by bribing Italian referees on behalf of clubs in the 1960s and 1970s. Both Guttmann and Solti fled the scene, says Bolchover. Eventually Guttmann was given a sentence of six months in prison. But he was given an immediate pardon of six months, and a fine. What is interesting is that very few people talked about it in the Italian press at the time, Bolchover adds. Bolchover claims Guttmann always lived life in the fast lane and close to the edge. When living in New York as a player for both the New York Giants and New York Hakoah Guttmann became involved in an illegal speakeasy business that sold booze during the prohibition era. It earned him a substantial amount of money. And it was around this time too in Las Vegas that Guttmann developed a serious addiction to gambling. It was a habit the Jewish player and coach would sustain right up until his death in Vienna in 1981. From the evidence that we have, I suspect that Guttmann was a big gambler. He lost a lot of his money. There might have been some left by the time he retired. He also worked until he was 75 in jobs that really didnt make sense for such a great coach. So I suspect he might have needed the money, Bolchover concludes. Bela Guttmann, to the right of the man in the suit, and the Hakoah Vienna football club with a trophy. (Courtesy)

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