Painting the nightmare of Auschwitz : the February 2020 Slavonic item of the month

This year will see many 75th anniversaries relating to the Second World War, and one of the most poignant – the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviets – has already occurred, in late January.  We recently received an important addition to Cambridge’s significant holdings about the Holocaust and Auschwitz in particular, in the form of a catalogue of works by David Olere, Ten, który ocalał z Krematorium III (The one who survived Crematorium III), based on an exhibition held at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in 2018-2019.

Olere, a French Jew sent to Auschwitz in 1943, was one of the very few Sonderkommandos to survive the war.  His artistic abilities, employed by Nazi personnel to illustrate letters home and produce other artwork, saved him from the regular killing of Sonderkommando generations.  Olere was in the death march from Auschwitz in January 1945 and was liberated only in May, in Ebensee.  He…

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Hate is Our Enemy

K Heidi Fishman

Tuesday evening I went to the HeartStorm Farmstead where gracious owners Kim and Mike, Rabbi Raskin from Chabad of Southern VT, and Baltic Truth Holocaust Documentary, were hosting Holocaust survivor Elly Gotz, who was there to tell his miraculous story of survival. Gotz was 13 years old and living in Kovno (Kaunas) Lithuania when war broke out in 1941. His story is terrifying and he tells it with passion and heart and, dare I say, humor. Of the 160,000 Jews living in Lithuania before WWII less than 10% survived.

Elly Gotz at HeartStorm Farmstead

Mr. Gotz’s message is extremely important in today’s divided world. He talked about hate. He told us that after the war he hated Germans and wanted to kill them. He had to find a way to put aside that hate in order to live. He quoted Buddha at the end of his talk…

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#Classic Animal Farm

Basically Orwell’s response to the Spanish Civil War.

NancyElin

Finished: 26.02.2020
Genre: allegory (140 pg)
Rating: A+++
#Classic


Conclusion:

  1. Timeless classic
  2. …..every one should read it
  3. …soon to be a Netflix film.
  4. After 50.308 reviews on Goodreads about this book…
  5. …there isn’t much more to tell!
  6. The story, published in 1945, is an allegory for
  7. Stalinist Russia in which animals rebel against the
  8. humans who own their farm and adopt
  9. the rule of equality for all.
  10. By the end of the story, a group
  11. of pigs has begun ruling the animals.
  12. Animal Farm is considered a work of social satire
  13. because Orwell employs irony to criticize
  14. the individuals/groups depicted in the novel.
  15. This story demands that readers think.
  16. Presenting the novel as a beast fable
  17. …contributes greatly to its brilliance.
  18. Lessons learned:
    1. Power corrupts
    2…

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One or two people got hurt in the meantime, didn’t they?

Image result for Cartoons of English Kings eating

Along with Gillray or maybe Hogarth,

we like rude cartoons of old kings;

overweight, overbearing and bewigged,

breeches bursting, waistcoats straining at buttons

at table, grasping forks thrust

into grotesquely large mouthfuls of whole chicken.

 

Thus has our Royal Family delighted us

and so it was today as I sat beside

a girl bearing a willow branch or some such.

Behind me a conversation struck up

in praise of books yet denigrating kindles.

Someone spoke of her favourite detective stories,

“Its a pity when you do know,

half way through who done it,” she paused

“but you have to keep onto the end in case

-you haven’t got it right.”

“I like turning the pages,”

replied he who disparaged modern technology.

 

“Did you see that programme last night?”

“The Windsors”, “The Palace” or some such

“What he got up to – the ageing Duke

and that other one, the Princess-

No!” and he named her Aunt instead

I began to imagine islands, sun-tanned cougars

behind sunglasses…..

He continued in a sadder tone,

“Yes, she couldn’t be with the one

she wanted to be with…” and went on

plaintively and regretfully describing the Royal lady’s lifestyle

and jazzed up episodes and finished somewhat mournfully,

“One or two people got hurt in the meantime, didn’t they?”

And the bus stopped and I got out and walked away pensively.

 

#Classic The Quiet American

NancyElin

  • Author: Graham Greene (1904 – 1991)
  • Title:  The Quiet American (210 pg)
  • Genre: novel
  • Published: 1955
  • Trivia: 2019 BBC News lists The Quiet American
  • ….as on of the 100 most influential novels
  • List of Challenges 2020
  • Monthly plan

Conclusion:

  1. This was an excellent book. (reading time: 4 hrs)
  2. I needed to detach myself for one day
  3. from the political turmoil on TV #Election2020 USA.
  4. Novels are a means to escape reality…
  5. yet they describe in ‘fiction’ what many don’t want to acknowledge.
  6. I wanted discover Graham Greene’s view of U.S. foreign policy.
  7. USA –>  ill-advised and ill-informed
  8. …sounds still very relevant in 21st C!
  9. Greene portrays the French colonialism and American involvement in the
  10. Vietnam War ….as a love triangle: Fowler – Phoung – Pyle
  11. Central issue: the politics of intervention in a foreign nation.
  12. Strong point:   characters
  13. …Britain (Fowler), America (Pyle), France (Vigot) Vietnam (Phoung)
  14. Fowler:…..repeating “I’m…

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Maigret and the Wine Merchant

Paris bistros and good reading- formidable!!

It's only chemo

If only I could drink like Maigret. Rum for his colds, beer for his thirsts, plum brandy when he feels a bout of the flu coming on. And he eats like a horse. A thoroughbred horse with his own private chef, that is. Madame Maigret sounds like a wonderful chef.

This novel is about work and how we compensate ourselves for the time we spend at the office. The murder is all about the company run by the victim, the solution is to do with the way the business was run and most of the red herrings come from employees. People often say these books are excellent at describing ordinary melancholy, but Simenon is also sharp to the daily grind and the petty reality of office politics. It’s a very #metoo novel.

Maigret is always at work, in a way few literary characters are. He dreams about his case. He…

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Toku à la Maison de la culture du Japon

Vaugment cool et tranquille!

Direct-Actu.fr

Il y a quelques jours, l’artiste Japonais Toku était à Paris pour un concert très intimiste avec le public français. Il a commencé la soirée par quelques mots en français, puis s’est lancé en anglais en s’excusant de ne pas être très bon francophone.
Les reviews de concert ne sont pas vraiment notre spécialité, mais nous avons apprécié ce moment particulier : dans une salle où tous les spectateurs fermaient les yeux et savouraient chacune des notes qui s’envolaient dans l’espace.

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Covers from the Liberation Collection

These look great- most interesting.

The Liberation Collection consists of over 3000 books published in French between 1944 and 1946. They all share a common subject – the Second World War – and reflect the interest of the collector for book history (quality paper, limited editions, signed copies, etc.); this aside, they differ widely from each other in the way they treat the subject, what they talk about (or don’t talk about), their format, pictorial content, audience, tone and genre. One way to give an insight into the variety of the collection is through its most striking book covers, most of them having been photographed for our thumbnail project. Here is a random sample taken from books catalogued in 2019:

Fiction

Fiction represents nearly one sixth of the collection. Below are a spy novel, an adventure tale about the life of a fighter pilot and a theatre play about the army draft in France.

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Poetry & Ideas, Text and Images, edited and drawn by Raffaella Torresan

Some interesting lines here.

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

Sometimes, it’s just a case of being in the right place at the right time…

The Spouse and I went to a book launch today at the Victorian Artists’ Society in East Melbourne.  The book is called Pictures and Prose, Existentialists and Atheists Speak, and the reason we were interested in this somewhat esoteric publication was because The Spouse is included in it.  As I’m sure readers have gathered by now, he is a man of many interests and from time to time he has given a talk at the Existentialists’ Society (even though he isn’t one of them).  And he was giving a talk there when Melbourne painter, printmaker and photographer Raffaella Torresan was there sketching the presenters and that is why he is in the book which is a collection of talks given at the society.

His talk was titled ‘Skepticism, Science and Scientism, and I don’t…

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