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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Grinning and waving, 14 women who survived the horrors of World War II paraded Thursday in an unusual pageant, vying for the honor of being crowned Israel’s first “Miss Holocaust Survivor.”

Billed by organizers as a celebration of life, the event also stirred controversy. In a country where millions have been touched by the Holocaust, many argued that judging aging women who had suffered so much on physical appearance was inappropriate, and even offensive.

“It sounds totally macabre to me,” said Colette Avital, chairwoman of Israel’s leading Holocaust survivors’ umbrella group. “I am in favor of enriching lives, but a one-time pageant masquerading (survivors) with beautiful clothes is not what is going to make their lives more meaningful.”

Pageant organizer Shimon Sabag rejected the criticism, saying the winners were chosen based on their personal stories of survival and rebuilding their lives after the war, and physical beauty was only a tiny part of the competition. Read the full article on Haaretz.com

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I Will Survive (July 2010)

A YouTube clip depicting five people dancing to the tune of Gloria Gaynor’s song “I will survive” in front of Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz has resurfaced at the center of a trans-Atlantic controversy.

Australian Jewish artist Jane Korman filmed her three children and her father, 89-year-old Holocaust survivor Adolk, in the video clip “I Will Survive: Dancing Auschwitz.”

The clip depicted the Korman family dancing in front of Holocaust land marks in Poland, including infamous entrance sign to Auschwitz death camp reading “Arbeit Macht Frei,” a Polish synagogue, Dachau, Theresienstadt, and a memorial in Lodz.

Her father at one point in the clip even wore a shirt on which the word “Survivor” was written. Read the full article on Haaretz.com

Articles and interviews on the controversial video can be found on the artist’s website.

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Today I feel that in Persona – and later in Cries and Whispers – I had gone as far as I could go. And that in these two instances, when working in total freedom, I touched wordless secrets that only the cinema can discover.
Ingmar Bergman, Images: My Life in Film (1990)

Persona (1966) is one of the most emblematic films of the “Art Cinema” from the 60s. Its enigmatic, anti-narrative structure has given rise to many interpretations. Focusing on the relationship between two women, a stage actress suddenly become mute, Elisabeth (Liv Ullmann), and a young nurse named Alma (Bibi Andersson), Persona questions the uncertain boundaries between actor and character, thus turning itself into a radical interrogation on subjectivity and identity.

But the film also offers insight into the aesthetic articulation between dramaturgy of silence, modernist/avant-garde techniques and Holocaust trauma. Such a tension is figured by the irruption of the famous photograph of the “Warsaw Ghetto boy”, that crystallizes Elisabeth’s voluntary mutism as a collective, historical trauma.

Bergman’s reframing of the picture emphasizes the facial close-up (a visual and thematic key of his work).

Source: Spiegel Online International (29-5-2012)

The word “Holocaust” is not some new way to say “Congratulations” in Duckburg, home to Donald Duck and his comic cohorts. But in the most recent German translation of the Junior Woodchucks comic from the Mickey Mouse universe, that is exactly how it appears. In the episode titled “Where is the Smoke?” a dignitary honors a team of firefighters, with the German words, in the bubble above his beak, boasting of the “awards to our brave and always alert fire lookouts! Holocaust!”

The original comic, written by Carl Barks and appearing in 1972, used the word as a synonym for “inferno” or “blaze.” The duck dignitary gives plaques to the fire lookouts for pinpointing the “awesome Holocaust.”

German publisher Egmont Ehapa, which brings the Mickey Mouse comics to the country, says the mistake was not a translation error. The word didn’t appear in the translator manuscript, spokesperson Elke Schickedanz told SPIEGEL ONLINE. The mistake came up during production, when the English text in the word bubbles was not thoroughly removed, she said.

The comic book, which was supposed to appear on May 8, was promptly recalled. The word “Holocaust” was blacked out by hand and the new edition should be available in stores this week. There were still a few copies of the original German comic sold in May before the recall.

Donald Duck Takes On The Nazis
Schickedanz says that Ehapa is very careful about avoiding sensitive terminology. In Barks’ comic “April Fools,” a copy of Hitler’s tome “Mein Kampf” repeatedly shows up in a Duckburg trash dump.

When the publisher printed the German version it reduced the number of times that the book appears in the comic. Still Ehapa came under fire about seven years ago for translating comic books that attempted to make the horrors of the Holocaust more accessible to young readers.

It’s also not the first time that Donald Duck has been mixed up with the Nazis. During World War II the US enlisted Walt Disney, creator of the comics, in efforts using Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Bambi and others to spread anti-Nazi messages. In 1984 Donald Duck was awarded the rank of sergeant by the US Army for his wartime service.