Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: January 2013

genocide

Source: Fox News, January 26, 2013.

Hardline clerics in Iran who deny the Holocaust had their chance Friday night to tune in and confront their ignorance of history.

On Friday, an opposition Iranian satellite channel based in London aired “Genocide,” an Academy Award-winning 1980 documentary on the Holocaust produced by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The sobering film, aired with subtitles in Farsi, was shown in order to combat the Iranian regime’s frequent denial of one of history’s most tragic events.

The Wiesenthal Center, a global Jewish human rights organization which also is home to the Museum of Tolerance, Holocaust museums in Los Angeles, Jerusalem and New York, coordinated the showing to coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27.

“Genocide,” or “Nasl Keshi, in Farsi, has been aired around the world, but Friday’s viewing was the first time Iranians have been able to see the film. The film aired on Iran’s NTV Simay Azadi, on satellite and streaming online.

Read the full article.

20ARTSWE1-articleLarge

Source: Sylviane Gold, The New York Times, January 18, 2013

It may take a village to raise a child, but what does it take to ensure that that child grows up to respect people raised in different ways by other villages? “Cartoonists Against the Holocaust,” an exhibition combining the efforts of a Westchester County high school and two nonprofit organizations, in White Plains and Washington, suggests a history lesson.

Created in Washington by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, brought to Westchester by the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center and installed at the Museum of Arts and Culture in New Rochelle High School’s new wing, “Cartoonists Against the Holocaust” merits its subtitle, “Art in the Service of Humanity.”

The title itself, however, is a bit of a misnomer. The cartoon reproductions in this small, eye-opening show are not decrying the crimes of the Third Reich. And let’s face it: Holocaust deniers notwithstanding, most of us, even the students who will be visiting the exhibition as part of their course work, don’t need to be told that the Nazis were evil. The cartoonists represented here were, rather, using their art to cajole, embarrass and pillory the politicians in London and Washington who failed to help save Jewish lives when they had the opportunity.

There was the infamous episode of the St. Louis, the stranded German passenger ship whose 900-plus refugees had to return to Europe after being refused entry to the New World, first by Cuba and then by the United States. There was Britain’s unrelenting opposition to opening Palestine to fleeing European Jews. There were international conferences about the Jewish plight that resulted in much talk and no action.

These cartoonists took umbrage. Some, including The New York Post’s Stan MacGovern, responded with simple, scathing images, like the one he drew in 1944, after the Nazis started deporting Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz. With the walls of Jerusalem in the distance, a pathetic figure on all fours representing “500,000 Jews in Hungary” reaches desperately for the Palestine visas in the pocket of John Bull’s tailcoat, while a ribbon marked “Delay” drapes the Englishman’s wrists and he says, “Sorry, my hands are tied.”

Other examples are equally blunt but display more finesse in the drawing. In Fred L. Packer’s “Ashamed,” published in The New York Daily Mirror in June 1939, as the trapped passengers of the St. Louis were making headlines, the Statue of Liberty averts her gaze from a refugee ship steaming away from the New York skyline, turned away by the enormous “Keep Out” sign hanging from her torch.

There are also cartoons that serve not just to make a political point but also to display the academic training and sheer artistry of the draftsman, like Arthur Szyk’s “Palestine Restricted” (1944). With a crowd of Jews trapped in front of a locked gate as a Nazi vulture attacks, it isn’t that different in content from the Packer and the MacGovern cartoons. But visually, its ornate composition, rich detailing and haunted faces have more in common with a Rembrandt etching.

Another exquisitely drawn work by Szyk, who arrived in the United States from Poland in 1940, shows Hitler meeting with Himmler, Goering and Goebbels to complain that they are running out of Jews to murder. In a heart-rending postscript, Szyk penciled in a dedication to one of the Polish victims of the genocide: his mother.

Both Szyk cartoons appeared in the New York newspaper PM, a reminder that once upon a time in America, publications like PM and Ken magazine proudly proclaimed their leftist politics in words and pictures. Eric Godal’s sharp line found its way into both journals, deriding oblivious bureaucrats in the State Department in PM in 1943 and, in Ken in 1938, evoking the long history of anti-Semitism with an overhead view of an itinerant Jew straddling a map of Europe.

But mainstream publications could be just as vociferous; The Christian Science Monitor’s Paul Carmack reacted to the 1938 Kristallnacht attacks in Germany with “Best Answer to Race Persecution,” making the case early and clearly for “Assistance.”

In a world where the term “ethnic cleansing” no longer elicits shock, the show offers another answer: education. Assembled by the Holocaust scholar Rafael Medoff, director of the David S. Wyman Institute, its cartoons are part of a larger project that will present some 100 similar works in a book to be published in spring. The Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center plans to distribute the text to schools in Westchester and to train local teachers in using the cartoons in their classrooms. But the 16 cartoons in this show, open to the public during school hours whether or not the security guards at the front desk know it, are eloquent enough on their own.