HITLER YOUTH: In response to public pressure, Teen People magazine, which is owned by Time Inc., killed a story on Lynx and Lamb Gaede, the 13-year-old California-based twins who make up the white supremacist singing duo Prussian Blue. According to the New York Daily News, a Time spokeswoman said that “a junior employee made unauthorized assurances to the mother of the Gaede twins regarding the prohibition of certain words in the story,” which was scheduled to appear in a February 2006 issue of the magazine. These words included “hate,” “supremacist” and “Nazi,” all reasonable terms to use in describing girls who wear T-shirts with smiling pictures of Hitler on them, play a video game called “Ethnic Cleansing” and perform a song titled “Aryan Man Awake.” Meanwhile, members of the Australian government have discussed banning the girls from touring Australia. The twins’ mother said that they had no plans to go there anyway. And a few music critics have suggested that the whole controversy is much ado about nothing: The girls, they said, can’t sing worth a lick.
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SHANG-CHAI: China’s government is taking a renewed interest in Hongkou, the historic district of Shanghai that housed thousands of Jewish refugees during World War II. According to reports in the Asian media and from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Chinese officials are planning to protect, renovate and redevelop the area in the coming years. Officials are reportedly hoping the district could become a tourist destination that has clubs and kosher restaurants. One historic synagogue already has been converted into a museum, and the South China Morning Post said that local Jewish leaders have requested that another synagogue, long empty, be restored.
Shanghai was a major destination for Jewish refugees during the Holocaust, hosting almost 20,000 Jews. Its appeal was not its hospitality but, ironically, its lawlessness: With the country in chaos, nobody required immigrants to carry visas. In addition, Fengshan Ho, Chinese consul general in Vienna in the late 1930s, provided a number of Jews with permits to travel to Shanghai.
In 1943, Japanese authorities forced Shanghai’s Jews to move to a ghetto within Hongkou. The ghetto was closed November 11, 1945, a date whose 60th anniversary the Chinese government celebrated not long ago.
At a recent event documenting Hongkou’s Jewish history, Shanghai refugee Michael Blumenthal, President Carter’s Treasury secretary, recalled the difficult life conditions in which Jews in Shanghai lived. “Many people died on the streets, and nobody cared,” he said “In the ghetto, most Jewish people lived in poverty alongside equally poor Chinese people.”