Jews in Global Consciousness: Forgotten Past, Sweet Past – Interview with Dara Horn

Photo: Facebook/Dara Horn

“The World Like Dead Jews” is the provocative title of a collection of essays on the fate and reflection of Jews, often in distorted pink mirrors. “Crazy conspiracy theories that have led to anti-Semitic violence betray the fear of true freedom. Societies that accepted Jews flourished, and those who rejected them faded into the darkness of history. In any society, the presence of Jews is proof that freedom is possibleDara Horn remembers. For thousands of years, “acceptance” was an illusion, a reality of persecution and extermination. ‘Ugly in life’, marginalized, isolated, discriminated against, Jews are ‘loved’ only after death, he argues, arguing but justified, sometimes posthumous love out of self-preservation, self-praise, or a need for forgiveness, often It is out of interest, whether alive or dead, that the Jews are uncomfortable, because they are reminded of how guilty and burdened the European conscience is. Fry is honored as a “Right Among Peoples” by Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, but has been forgotten by the European Jewish dignitaries he saved from death and overshadowed by Western culture because he remembers how rare it is. The inflexibility of morals that could have stopped the infernal Nazi extermination machine The past of silence or complicity with non-Jewish communities can be rewritten, distorted, painted, or selectively accepted. Zara, in Dara Horn’s vision, explains the popularity of some Elie Wiesel or Anne Frank, who bandaged the wounds of European consciousness, and the marginalization into oblivion of those who refused to do so.

Dara HornThe subject is the role Jews in the past played in the imagination of non-Jewish-majority societies. I explore the idea that narratives about dead Jews are constructed for a better self-portrait of narrators, and that these stories often require an obfuscation of living Jews. A symbolic example is what happened in 2018 at the Anne Frank Memorial Museum in Amsterdam. A young Jewish official was prevented from wearing a kippah in plain sight: he was forced to hide it under a hat. The young man appealed to the board of directors, which invalidated the initial decision after four months of deliberations. Four months to decide, at the Anne Frank Museum, whether forcing a Jew into hiding was a good idea? It’s a lot. Methods of memorializing murdered Jews aim to curry favor with non-Jewish communities by obliterating current Jewish identity.

ReporterWhere no flattery is exploited the doomed or exiled past. A striking example is Harbin, where the state rebuilt the ghetto, imposed some buildings on Central Street, and moved part of the Huangshang Jewish Cemetery. The “Potimkin Village” was rebuilt for profit.

Dara Horn: Harbin, located in northeastern China, is a city largely built by Russian Jews in the process of expansion across Siberia. Almost 20,000 Jews built the entire infrastructure of the region at the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century. Over the past century, permanent regimes made life for Jews increasingly miserable until in 1962 the Israeli government evicted the last Jew from Harbin. But 15 years ago, local authorities decided to spend $30 million to rebuild or restore historic Jewish monuments. Surprisingly, they did not hide their motives. Public statements at the time were that Jews are rich – which is the case anyway – so they should be drawn to come as tourists and investors. The plans are clearly based on an anti-Semitic stereotype. Two Jewish families are especially highlighted in the Museum of Community History: Kaspe and Skidelsky. Joseph Caspe, a businessman, built the Modern Hotel – an important cultural center, where the first cinema in China was located – and launched the modern ice cream brand. The hotel continues to operate and sells ice cream everywhere, in the city and at the airport. Joseph Caspe’s son was killed in 1931 by the Japanese occupiers of Manchuria, Joseph went mad and ended up in Europe, where his family perished in the Holocaust. The same story with the Skidelsky family. Large landowners and landlords owned most of the coal mines in the area and played a major role in the operation of the Trans-Siberian Railway. In 1945, family members were confiscated and sent to the Gulag camps. A descendant, and then a child, Lord Skidelsky, returned from England in 2006 to claim his fortune. He was elected with a check of £20,000. At the Museum of Jewish Community History in Harbin, nothing explains why this wonderful community does not exist.

ReporterBaron Skidelsky did not choose much, which cannot be said about Ehud Olmert, his father and grandfathers from Harbin.

Dara Horn: yes. Ehud Olmert, who was Israel’s prime minister, was deputy prime minister in 2004, when he paid a state visit there. They built a synagogue before the visit, and restored tombstones for his family members. The synagogue built in his honor is still empty. What the Chinese authorities have done is a kind of parody of history.

Reporter: One of the book’s essays is devoted to the way Jews themselves reflect the past—sometimes to fit the expectations and sensitivities of the Christian public—and the very different reception of these narratives in the Western world. It is no coincidence that Anne Frank gained worldwide fame while Zalmen Gradowski has been practically forgotten, as is Chava Rosenfarb’s extraordinary trilogy, The TREE OF LIFE, one of the most vivid and authentic records of the atrocities in the Lodz ghetto. Gateway from Hell. But continue with a very useful example, that of Elie Wiesel and his book NIGHT.

Dara Horn: Originally published in Yiddish under the title And The World Was Silent. The plot is the same – a teen survives the concentration camps where his family is exterminated – but the anger is directed at the non-Jewish communities that allowed genocide. In the French version, adapted under the guidance of the Catholic writer François Mauriac, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and published under the title NIGHT, anger is redirected toward God. A very smart solution. The book was published in French in the 1950s. Which French-Jewish reader then wanted to know that his community had a responsibility? No wonder this version is celebrated, and not others. Same with Anne Frank. He writes in a Western language. The most famous quote is “I still believe, despite everything that happens, that people are good at heart“It is interesting to readers: the young Jew forgive them. Anne Frank wrote these lines three weeks before she met people who were not very good at all: she was arrested and deported to Auschwitz. Another journalistic author, Zalmen Gradowski, had a very similar history – his diaries were found , which was kept during the war, after his death, the difference is that he kept diaries at Auschwitz, where he was a member of what the Nazis called sonderkommando, a unit of Jewish prisoners who were forced to lead other Jews to gas chambers and then throw their bodies into cremation furnaces, writes Gradovsky about this experience, about the actions of barbarians, without naive quotes in the style of Anne Frank, without wondering, thinking hell, “why.” He says the fire was caused by the savages of the world hoping to expel the light of the savage fires from their lives, that is the truth about the Holocaust A truth the world does not want to hear.

Leave a Comment