Jews are excluded from access to the kingdom.” This clause, the second in the Norwegian constitution, approved by a large majority in 1814, has long been a singular pronouncement in Europe. For K., journalist Vibeke Knoop Rachline tells us its history – through the repeal of the paragraph in 1851 – and the trace it leaves today in Norwegian society and its small Jewish community.
One of the oldest medieval Hebrew manuscripts preserved in France was sold in New York on October 19. An anonymous private collector acquired it for more than eight million euros. The mahzor known as the “Luzzatto mahzor” had been one of the jewels of the Alliance Israélite Universelle’s library since 1870. Noëmie Duhaut looks back at this story and asks the question it raises: Why are an archive about Jewish life, culture, and politics, as well as research on these topics struggling to exist in France?
The departure of the Jews from Tunisia, generally associated with the consequences of the Six Day War, was in fact rooted in a Tunisian-French conflict known as the Bizerte Crisis, which took place five years earlier. The accusation of treason leveled against the Jews of Bizerte, and their consequent rescue by Israel, marked the beginning of the rapid disappearance of any Jewish presence in Tunisia. Writing for K., Agnès Bensimon, a specialist in the history of the Jews in North Africa, tells us about the last days of the Jewish community of Bizerte.
We, in Europe, have long been spectators of a debate on the relationship between Islam and politics. The matter has become as problematic as timely as it is elusive. How do we understand this problematic, which though arising in Islam has become a question for us all? Anoush Ganjipour’s latest volume, L’ambivalence politique de l’islam: Pasteur ou Leviathan? (Paris, Seuil, 2021, untranslated), stands out from the normal run of studies in the depth and radicalism of the internal critique it undertakes. K. meets with the author to discuss this landmark book.
“It’s the same scene every time. I’m in a Parisian square and people ask me what language I speak with my children. My “Jewish face” throws them off the trail with two wrong answers: either it’s Yiddish or Hebrew. In either case, they don’t recognize my mother tongue, spoken by one in five Europeans.”
‘Smocza: A Biography of a Jewish Street in Warsaw’, by Benny Mer, was published in Hebrew in 2018. Like an archaeologist, the street’s biographer exhumes it by tracking down all the traces he can gather (in the press, in poetry and fiction, in the rare photographs that remain, in the testimonies that the author could collect) to give an idea, an image, a reminiscence of Smocza, which he loves like a ghost that beckons you. K. is happy to publish the first chapter of Benny Mer’s investigation of this vanished world, which he says he feels at home in.
Exactly eighty years ago, on September 29-30, 1941, nearly 34,000 Jews from Kiev were executed at Babi Yar, a ravine located west of the Ukrainian capital. The question of the memorialization of the site, raised at the end of the war, has still not found a clear answer to this day. Lisa Vapné gives us a glimpse of the long and conflicting history, full of twists and turns, of a memory that has yet to be built on the very site of the crime.
While anti-Semitism is rampant throughout the world, the Holocaust memory is increasingly interrogated in the name of post-colonial ideas. The latest attack is signed by the Australian historian Dirk Moses. The great historian of the Holocaust Saul Friedländer, in an article originally published in Die Zeit, counters: “‘Auschwitz’ was something completely different from the colonial atrocities of the West.
Last week, Ewa Tartakowsky told us about the conditions under which a school visit like the one to the “Museum of the Poles Who Saved Jews During the Second World War – Ulma family” in Markowa takes place today, in the era of the PiS, Poland’s right-wing nationalist governing party. Here is the second and final part of this brush withg a biased, ethno-religious account of the history of relations between non-Jewish Poles and Jews in Poland.
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