After the Nazi conquest of Poland in October 1939, Hitler entrusted Hans Frank with the task of establishing the “General Government of Poland,” a territory that was soon littered with ghettos and camps – but which was nevertheless the subject of one of the most famous tourist guides of the time, the Baedeker guide. In September 1942, Frank met with Oskar Steinheil, a representative of the Baedekers, to commission him to write a version devoted to the General Government of Poland, which was published in 1943. Carole Fily examined this guide, with its extermination locations erased and its population transfers ignored…
Yeshaya Dalsace, a French rabbi from the Massorti community, recently visited Ukraine without a Baedeker guide. He took the road to Munkács (“Moukatchevo” in Ukrainian), in Transcarpathia, a few dozen kilometers from the Polish, Hungarian, Slovak and Romanian borders. Before the war, nearly 15,000 Jews lived there. Today, there are barely even a hundred of them and nothing in the city indicates their disappearance. Immersed in a strange atmosphere, Yeshaya Dalsace tells us about his journey and his meeting with about 15 people who came to Munkács, in war-torn Ukraine, to complete their conversion process to Judaism.
In an Instagram post published on March 25, Kanye West explained that, thanks to the film 21 Jump Street and its actor Jonah Hill, “[he] likes Jewish people again.” The rapper thus announced that he was giving up anti-Semitism as if he was finally giving up sugar…
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In 1943, a Baedeker on the General Government of Poland was published. The famous tourist guide offered Germans a tour of the Polish outpost of the Eastern living space - also referred to by the Nazis as "Wilder Osten", or the Wild East. Carol Fily immersed herself for K. in the book, which was designed at the time under the patronage of Hans Frank, the Governor General of Poland during the war.
Rabbi of the Massorti community in France, Yeshaya Dalsace went to Ukraine to Munkács - Moukatchevo in Ukrainian - where only a hundred Jews remain. A rabbinical conversion commission was recently organized there for about fifteen people. The process, which began years ago, had been suspended by the war. A travelogue.
Antisemitism has been escalating dramatically in the United States in recent years. The main tenet of American Jews - that antisemitic violence only occurs "over there" in Europe and the Middle East - has been put to the test. Daniel Solomon revisits the phenomenon, focusing on how Kanye West synthesizes antisemitic tropes from the right and others from the left in an unprecedented way.
This text is a friendly but critical reaction to Danny Trom’s article – “Israel: Towards a rupture? – in K., which discussed the dramatic course of events in Israel since the last elections and, in particular, the plans of the new government to change key aspects of Israel’s regime and identity. In it, Israeli scholar of modern Jewish history Amos Morris-Reich emphasizes what he believes is difficult to see clearly from Europe: Benjamin Netanyahu’s active role in Israel’s crisis and the extreme fragility of the unity of its society.
After taking over the direction of the Jewish Museum in Vienna (JMW) on July 1, Barbara Staudinger and her team of curators had less than five months to put together their first exhibition: “100 Misunderstandings about and between Jews”. Since its opening at the end of November, the exhibition has been attracting audiences. A look back at a controversy not seen in a European Jewish museum for a decade.
Joseph Benamour had already wondered in K. whether there were any Jews left in Algeria; today he investigates the need, so present among certain young Sephardic Jews of the second or third generation, to go to North Africa. Why and how do they think they will find a part of their history there? What role does family nostalgia play in these quests for identity?
Victor Serge, whose real name is Viktor Lvovitch Kibaltchitch, was born in Brussels in 1890. The man who would become a key figure in the European revolutionary mythology of the 20th century, grew up in the European libertarian milieu before joining Soviet Russia. Among the first denouncers of the abuses of Stalinism, he was deported to Siberia before being allowed to go into exile, first in Western Europe, then in Mexico. Mitchell Abidor returns to a little-known part of the career of the man who, during the war, wrote “The Extermination of the Jews of Warsaw”: that of his extreme attention – not tinged with ambiguity at times – to the specificity of the fate of the Jews.
A Scottish professor visits the ancient university of Salamanca and its historic library. In a secret room, containing a collection of books banned by the Inquisition, a Torah scroll is preciously preserved. Philip Schlesinger, himself a professor of Cultural Theory at the University of Glasgow, tells a story he heard and his protagonist’s quest to find the traces of the Spanish city’s Jewish past.
Examining the political situation that is inflaming Israel, Bruno Karsenti gives an account of the multiple fractures that deeply divide the populations living in the region. All the sub-groups in turmoil – religious Zionists, Israeli citizens demonstrating in defense of a modern democratic state now in danger, Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories – are brought back to the same question, which touches on the feeling of belonging, which is felt in different ways. For although it is of equal intensity, it does not have the same content or the same meaning according to the perspectives involved. To belong or to possess? Sari Nusseibeh returns in this week’s issue of K. to the tension between these two words. Bruno Karsenti’s text reads like an introduction to the Palestinian philosopher’s contribution.
Sari Nusseibeh, 74, is a prominent Palestinian philosopher who, after studying at Harvard, was president of the Arab University in Jerusalem. A former PLO representative in Jerusalem and a longtime player in negotiations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, his books include What Is a Palestinian State Worth?
In Communist Romania, Jews were traded for pigs, calves or cows. This is how Sonia Devillers’ grandparents – as she recounts in Les Exportés (Flammarion, September 2022, not yet translated into English) – were able to pass to the West. A picture of blood and guts emerges from Romania: after being slaughtered by hand, the surviving Jews were worth just about the price of the animals for which they were exchanged.
This year marks the centenary of the death of Vladimir Medem (1879-1923), a great theoretician of the Bund and the Jewish national question in the Russian Empire, considered in connection with socialist internationalism. Vladimir Medem was renowned for his writing and political activities. Constance Pâris de Bollardière discusses the singularity of his personal journey. Medem’s memoir, published in New York in 1923, will form the fabric of this evocation.
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Thanks to the Paris office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation for their cooperation in the design of the magazine’s website.