Nakam: The Holocaust Survivors who Sought Full-Scale Revenge

Nakam: The Holocaust Survivors who Sought Full-Scale Revenge By Dina Porat, translated by Mark L. Levinson, Published by Stanford University Press 2023, pp. 365 Nakam is the Hebrew for ‘revenge’ — and the fifty men and women who planned mass poisonings of Germans in the immediate aftermath of World War II were the Nokmim, the … Read more

On Bruno Kreisky

Kreisky, Israel and Jewish Identity by Daniel Ashheim Published by University of New Orleans Press, 2022, pp.225 Bruno Kreisky was the longest serving Chancellor of Austria (1970-1983). He was also a Jew who had fled to Sweden when Hitler annexed the country to the Third Reich. More than 20 family members perished in the Shoah, … Read more

On Eleanor Roosevelt

The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt Published by Bloomsbury 2022, pp. 557 Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was a leading liberal voice in post-war America. She had been a committed advocate of womens’ suffrage, an architect of the welfare state, a diplomat, a journalist and a social activist committed to the ideals of the newly established United Nations … Read more

Benjamin Netanyahu: His Story?

Bibi: My Story Benjamin Netanyahu Published by Threshold Editions, 2022, pp.726 When he was asked by a student in 2018, what is the most important subject to study for a political career, Benjamin Netanyahu replied that there were three answers: ‘History, history and more history’. In writing his own history during the Bennett-Lapid interregnum, dictated … Read more

On Józef Piłsudski

Józef Piłsudski, the founder of modern Poland after World War I, is hardly known today — and many Jews have previously regarded him pejoratively as just another one-dimensional strongman figure in an anti-Semitic inter-war Eastern Europe. This excellent biography by the American academic, Joshua Zimmerman, presents a far more nuanced account. Piłsudski grew up in … Read more

A Riddle wrapped in a Mystery inside an Enigma

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called a meeting of ministerial colleagues and interested parties to discuss the threat from the Kremlin to close down the Jewish Agency for Israel in Russia – a body which facilitates the emigration of Jews from that country. Many were unsure whether the Kremlin’s move was merely intimidatory … Read more

King Boris of Bulgaria

Many believe that Bulgaria, like Denmark, saved its Jews from the Nazi death camps. The book The Stolen Narrative of the Bulgarian Jews and the Holocaust (Rowman and Littlefield) by Jacky Comforty, together with Martha Aladjem Bloomfield, tells a different story. It is a narrative that recalls Bulgaria’s alliance with Hitler to regain territory in … Read more

Munich 1919

In Hitler’s Munich: Jews, the Revolution and the Rise of Nazism by Michael Brenner, translated by Jeremiah Riemer, published by Princeton University Press 2022, pp.392 In the immediate aftermath of the sudden defeat in the First World War in 1918, Munich — before the appearance of Hitler on the political stage — emerged as ‘the … Read more

Lessons from Yesterday

One hundred years ago in 1922, the Nazis were just another fringe nationalist group, wallowing in the humiliation of sudden defeat in World War I. Under the terms of the Versailles agreement, Germany lost territory to Poland, Belgium and France, its colonies, its foreign investments — and owed reparations of 132 billion goldmarks. Defeat spawned … Read more