October 23, 2009

100 Years Ago In the Forward

Jewish academics in Austria have been, for a while already, fighting a battle to have Jews recognized as a distinct nationality. This issue originated in the university, where Jewish students from Galicia and Bukovina were required to give their nationalities as Polish or Ruthenian, but then also had to state their mother tongues. This left many of the Jewish students in a quandary. Some of them put Yiddish as their mother tongue, some put Hebrew and some even put Arabic. Many left the section blank, thinking it would affect placement. At this point, it all seems moot, since the Austrian education minister declared recently that the Jews are not a nation.

75 Years Ago In the Forward

The German News Bureau reported this week on the alleged suicide of Erich Muhsam in Oranienburg concentration camp. Muhsam, a well-known German-Jewish poet and political radical, is one of the hundreds who have recently “committed suicide” in a concentration camp. He had been in a camp in Sonnenburg, Brandenburg and finally Oranienburg, where he was brutally tortured by the Nazis. Muhsam was beaten, had his teeth knocked out and his beard torn out, and had a swastika branded on his scalp. It is alleged that the Nazis simply beat him to death and then hung his body in order to call his death a suicide.

50 Years Ago In the Forward

A number of Arab countries continue to fight their stubborn economic battle against the State of Israel by boycotting firms that do business with it. It is now becoming clear that the recent distancing of the French automobile firm Renault from Israel is a result of Arab pressure on it. In fact, Renault has admitted as much and has not renewed its contract with the Kaiser-Frazer automobile factory in Haifa. It is worth noting that relations between France and Israel are excellent, even better than it was thought they could be. It is hoped that the French government and the entire democratic world will look at this issue and deal with it as necessary.

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October 23, 2009

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