Alexei Navalny and the Jewish Dilemma

Last Saturday, tens of thousands of people came out across Russia in support of Alexei Navalny, the detained opponent of Vladimir Putin. Demonstrations took place from Vladivostok in the East to St. Petersburg in the West — and significantly outside the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv. Over 3,000 demonstrators have been arrested. In the past, … Read more

Survival on the Margins

Review of Eliyana R. Adler’s Survival on the Margins: Polish Jewish Refugees in the Wartime Soviet Union. Published by Harvard University Press This book tells the story of the tens of thousands of Polish Jews who were forcibly deported to special settlements and camps in the interior of the Soviet Union in 1940. They had … Read more

Leningrad 1970

Fifty years ago, on Christmas Day 1970, a handful of British Jews gathered in the bitter cold outside the Soviet Embassy in Bayswater. The news had reached London the night before that two Soviet Jews, Mark Dymshits and Edward Kuznetsov, had been sentenced to death. The announcement on Christmas Eve of these draconian sentences had … Read more

The Banality of Evil

Review of Review of Daniel Lee’s The S.S. Officer’s Armchair: Uncovering the Hidden Life of a Nazi, published by Hachette (New York 2020) PP.303 It all began at a dinner party in Florence. A guest related how a collection of documents, bearing the Nazi insignia, had fallen out of an old chair that her mother had … Read more

The Hitler Conspiracies

Review of Richard J. Evans’s The Hitler Conspiracies: The Third Reich and the Paranoid Imagination Published by Allen Lane, London 2020, pp. 276, price £20 This a compelling book about ‘fantasies and fictions, fabrications and falsifications’ — an excursion through five episodes of the Nazi period by the celebrated Cambridge historian, Sir Richard Evans. It … Read more

From the Mayflower to MAGA

Four hundred years ago, in September 1620, the Mayflower sailed from Plymouth Hoe in search of a promised land and a new world. On board, the travellers promised to ‘enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general … Read more

Rosh Hashana 1920

One hundred years ago, Rosh Hashanah 5681/1920, British Jews were beginning to look forward to a better future after the years of lethal stalemate on the battlefields of the First World War. Almost a million British soldiers had died fighting for King and Country in a terrible conflagration. The poet, Siegfried Sassoon, described the choking … Read more

Turkish Jews and the Massacre of the Armenians

SULTANIC SAVIORS AND TOLERANT TURKS by Marc David Baer Writing Ottoman Jewish history, denying the Armenian genocide338pp. Indiana University Press. $95 (paperback, $45). Until quite recently, whenever Turkey was criticized for its approach to minorities – Greeks, Kurds and Armenians – they were known to deflect the argument by pointing to 500 years of tolerance … Read more

East End Jews and Left Wing Theatre

For British Jews of a certain age, Alfie Bass, David Kossoff, Warren Mitchell and Lionel Bart were household names in the world of popular music and theater. They were also children of London’s Jewish East End who aspired to make it in the wider world, felt very Jewish, but at the same time were perplexed by … Read more

Hitler’s Invasion of Britain 1940

Eighty years ago on 16 July 1940, Hitler issued Führer Directive No.16 which instructed his forces to prepare for an invasion of the United Kingdom. The Nazis had conquered France and on a clear day could see the white cliffs of Dover — they readied themselves to launch Operation Sealion. A few weeks before, David … Read more