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Nazi monuments removed amid ongoing Forward investigation
Streets in Virginia and Bosnia that honored Nazi collaborators have been renamed. An art gallery in Australia no longer bears the name of a man who worked for the Third Reich. And, nearly a year after pledging to remove a monument celebrating Latvian soldiers in the military wing of the Nazi Party, a Belgian town finally did so this summer.
Context: These are among the changes that have occurred amid the Forward’s ongoing, award-winning investigation in which contributor Lev Golinkin has documented some 1,500 instances in which cities and towns around the world continue to uplift people who were complicit in the Holocaust.
Growing list: In recent months, we’ve also discovered more monuments to add our database, including in Ukraine, where a major thoroughfare is named after a Nazi collaborator. A convention center in Austria and a kindergarten in Germany are both named for Ferry Porsche — son of the automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche — who was a member of the Nazi Party and an SS officer involved with slave labor.
Close to home: And even as Ferdinand Porsche Drive, at Volkswagen’s North American headquarters in Virginia, has been renamed, we learned that Porsche’s North American headquarters in Atlanta features a bust of Ferry – as well as a photo installation celebrating his life. It’s part of a facility that contains a restaurant and racetrack, and bills itself as a venue for weddings and corporate events.
Read the story ➤
Get involved: If you know of streets, statues or other emblems honoring Nazi collaborators not included in our country-by-country lists, please email [email protected].
The director, Ondi Timoner, with her father, Eli Timoner, in ‘Last Flight Home.’ (MTV Documentary)
‘The most riveting and raw documentary I have ever seen’: Our film critic, Simi Horwitz, highly recommends “Last Flight Home,” which follows the decision of a 92-year-old man to end his life and the effect it has on those he was close to, including his daughters: one the filmmaker and the other a rabbi. It has a “sucker-punch immediacy, intimacy and authenticity,” Horwitz writes. “The distance between the viewer and what’s happening on the screen is virtually nonexistent.” Read her review ➤
Opinion | Do Jewish converts have to believe in God? A recent column by an atheist who just joined the tribe has sparked an intense debate online. Nava Anne Grant, herself a convert, takes a nuanced approach. “Becoming a Jew is a powerful change with many consequences, not all of them always stellar,” she writes. “And it is never a good idea to require newcomers to perform their Jewishness in order to prove that they belong.” Read her essay ➤
At the Harvard of China, something brand nu – a class in Yiddish: Each Wednesday at Peking University, Yang Meng is teaching more than 30 students from various majors their alef-beys, in what she believes is the first Yiddish class taught at a Chinese university. Meng thinks her enrollees are likely to understand the language’s place in Jewish culture. “Students coming from all parts of China have dialects from their hometown, their shtetl,” she explained, “and they might sense the meaning of a local language which is closely attached to its people.” Read the story ➤
But wait, there’s more…
- As the first seditious conspiracy trial to result from the Jan. 6 insurrection unfolds, Rachel Maddow is launching a new podcast about Nazi-backed Americans who tried to overthrow the U.S. government during World War II.
- We spoke with Guy Burnum, a producer and star of the gay romantic comedy “Bros” about his own Jewish journey, the Yeshiva University Pride Alliance case, and how that Barbra Streisand “Yentl” joke wound up in the movie.
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WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
Michelle Rechtman, a student at GWU, at the Jewish Rally for Abortion Justice in May in D.C. (Eric Lee)
Three Jewish women have sued to protest Kentucky’s restrictive abortion laws on religious freedom grounds. They argue that the state’s ban, which was passed in 2019 and went into effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, violates Jewish teachings as to when life begins and places undue burdens on their ability to use in vitro fertilization to get pregnant. (JTA)
🏳️🌈 A gay Palestinian man living in Israel was beheaded Wednesday in Hebron, a large city in the occupied West Bank. The 25-year-old man, Ahmad Abu Marhia, was planning on moving to Canada in two months. An unnamed suspect was arrested by Palestinian police. (Times of Israel, Haaretz)
⚖️ A former administrator at an Orthodox day school in the Bronx was sentenced on Thursday to 15 years in prison for child enticement and possession of child pornography. Prosecutors said he posed as a teenage girl online and engaged in sexually explicit conversations with minors, including his students. (NY Jewish Week, Justice Dept.)
🖼️ A 1911 painting by Marc Chagall that was stolen by the Nazis and recently returned to the heirs of its Jewish owners is estimated to be worth $6 million to $8 million. It will be up for auction in New York next month. (AFP)
🏀 The new head coach of the University of Florida men’s basketball team got his start at the Phoenix JCC. He’s one of several Jewish coaches in the NCAA, including at Auburn, Duke and the University of Hawaii. (Jewish Insider)
🎬 The memoir of Andy Cohen, the popular talk show host, is being turned into a TV series. It will center around a “fictionalized 13-year-old Cohen coming of age in 1980s St. Louis,” according to the show description. “He’s gay, loves the Cardinals, his bar mitzvah tutor is a stoner and his soap opera-fueled imagination makes him both the life of the party and the source of endless drama.” (Variety)
Shiva call ➤ Theo Richmond, a documentary filmmaker and author, died at 93. For his 1996 book about his parents’ shtetl in Poland, “Konin: A Quest,” he conducted some 400 interviews.
Long weekend reads from our partners at Haaretz ➤ Antisemitism, extremism dominate agenda in Pennsylvania governor race … A brief history of prehistoric art, and why Israel doesn’t have any … When the Jewish obsession with family trees yields unexpected results. Sign up here to get Haaretz’s free daily newsletter delivered to your inbox.
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In this week’s edition of our print magazine: Our Talya Zax travels to London to see how a theater is dealing with accusations of antisemitism – by putting on a play about antisemitism; Hillel Kuttler stops by Israel’s beloved Penguin restaurant, which announced it will be closing its doors after 82 years; Mira Fox speaks with a nanny who’s spent so much time around Orthodox Jewish families, she knows more about kosher than many of us. Download your copy now ➤
Vin Diesel in ‘Boiler Room.’ (New Line Cinema)
On this day in history (1972): Ben Younger, a screenwriter and producer, was born in Brooklyn. Younger, who attended a Modern Orthodox high school, was on a job interview for a brokerage firm when he decided to direct a film about shady stockbrokers. That movie was “Boiler Room,” released in 2000, and starred Vin Diesel and Ben Affleck. His second film, a rom-com called “Prime,” starred Meryl Streep as a Jewish therapist.
Last year on this day, we wondered if the death of McDonald’s McBagel was good for the Jews.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire. Was the culprit a Jewish kid named Louis M. Cohn?
In honor of World Smile Day, read about a vintage video of a Jewish boys choir that has gone viral on TikTok. Our columnist calls it “a joy to watch.”
Many among us can recite the opening of “Fiddler on the Roof” from memory (Tradition!) — but do you know the full original lyrics? In a video making the rounds on TikTok, lyricist Sheldon Harnick and composer Jerry Bock explain how the song evolved from its initial conception, of Golde preparing for Shabbat, to the shtetl-wide spectacle we all know.
It’s a masterclass in musical theater, with the two Broadway legends outlining the repurposing of melodies and development of the musical’s central themes. Would the show still have been a hit with the lyrics “Who can relax while there’s so much to be done/Keeping one eye on the soup and the other on the sun?” Who’s to say? But it certainly hits home with the shomer Shabbat set.
Thanks to PJ Grisar, Rina Shamilov and Talya Zax for contributing to today’s newsletter.
You can reach the “Forwarding” team at [email protected].