Friday, February 24, 2023

You People a New Netflix Rom-Com: Is It As Anti-Semitic As They Say?


You People a New Netflix Rom-Com
Is It As Anti-Semitic As They Say?


Netflix advertises its 2023 release You People as a romantic comedy. The film depicts a romance between a Jewish man and a black woman. It has been accused of anti-Semitism. By one measure – the number of times You People disseminates disparaging images of, or dialogue about Jews – You People is more anti-Semitic than the 1935 Nazi propaganda film, Triumph of the Will. And Triumph of the Will is of unquestionably superior aesthetic quality. You People's star, co-screenwriter, and co-producer Jonah Hill, born Jonah Hill Feldstein, identifies as Jewish. He is even a bar mitzvah. And he made a worse, and more anti-Semitic movie than Triumph of the Will.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Prophet 2022 : A New Film Depicts One Man Standing Against Soviet Communism

 Prophet 2022
A New Film Depicts One Man Standing Against Soviet Communism

Now here's an opening scene you will not see any time soon in a mainstream American film. First, darkness and silence. Next, the creak of a rusted metal door crashing open. A sliver of dirty light sighs across a filthy floor. Amidst what might be stains of blood, urine or feces on this concrete floor is the emaciated body of a naked man. His flesh, the floor, the light, all are sepia-toned, as if in a time-yellowed painting by an old master. This is not a crucifixion portrait; the man is horizontal on the bare floor, not vertical on a cross, but clearly, he is being martyred. The man's head rises from his arm, which he had been using as a pillow. He gasps for air. He blinks. He has been in darkness so long that light, a gift of which he has apparently been deprived for a long time, is more than he can take. He shields his eyes. He looks down.


Two thugs drag the naked form down a dark hall. In the distance, there are muffled screams. The naked man's flaccid form is handcuffed to a wooden slab. A bucket of cold water splashes over him. Another man, this one faux jolly and wearing an ostentatious coat with wide, shearling lapels, greets his victim. The smiling interrogator in the pimp coat asks for information. The handcuffed man says nothing. The interrogator tells the two thugs, "Manicure." A thug turns to a table well-stocked with tools. A door closes. Wrenching screams.


The man receiving the "manicure" is Antoni Baraniak (portrayed here by actor Artur Krajewski.) Baraniak was a Polish, Catholic bishop. His torturers were communists.

Friday, February 10, 2023

The Escape Artist. The Unforgettable, Cinematic Life of Rudolf Vrba


The Escape Artist
The Unforgettable, Cinematic Life of Rudolf Vrba


The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World by Jonathan Freedland was published by Harper in 2022. It is 376 pages and it includes twelve pages of black-and-white photographs and maps, as well as an index, end notes, and a bibliography.


In The Escape Artist, Jonathan Freedland, a British journalist, tells the story of Rudolf Vrba (1924-2006), who, the book claims, was "the first Jew ever known to break out of Auschwitz and make his way to freedom – one of only four who pulled off that near-impossible feat."


The Escape Artist is one of the very best books I've ever read on any topic, and I recommend it without reservation to any reader with a high school or above reading level. The subject matter is, of course, important, but in lesser hands Vrba's tale would be an overwhelmingly agonizing read. Freedland's masterful skill performs the minor miracle of crafting a graphic record of the Holocaust that is also a page-turner. Freedland pulls no punches. He informs the reader of the exact nature of the hell the Nazis operated. But Freedland moves quickly, and brings the reader with him on a breathtaking ride. In any case, only a portion of the book takes place in Auschwitz. The rest records Vrba's childhood, his heroic efforts to alert the world to the Nazi genocide of Jews, and his final days in Canada and the United States.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Poland As a Pigsty

 Anna D. submitted this comment and I hope it gets more attention than it might in the comment section. 

I live in Poland and for a long time I have noticed a trend in some circles to portray Poles, the whole nation, the whole society, as anti-Semitic, xenophobic, primitive and disgusting.

I always ask myself then who are the people who spare no effort to constantly discredit and depreciate Polish society as a whole. What group do these people belong to, in their own opinion? What are their motivations? What do they want to achieve?

The search for truth cannot be based on hatred, because hatred blinds. I ask if these people are looking for the truth. Because I rather have the impression that they take a club and hit with all their might to break all values. And present Polish society as mindless, primitive and aggressive - almost animals.

For example, I recently read a review about the 2021 film "The Wedding" by Wojciech Smarzowski.

Quote from a review on

" Poland A.D. 2021 is therefore reviewed in Poland A.D. 1941 and - unfortunately - still has the same face. The changes are only cosmetic: the place of the Jews was taken by other "others": Ukrainians and Vietnamese, and the Germans stab the Polish ego not with a bayonet, but with capital.

No need to beat around the bush: Poland in Smarzowski's lens is a pigsty full of xenophobia, philandering, drunkenness and brawling. The bride's father, of course, manages the butcher shop, and the director repeats Art Spiegelman's metaphor from "Maus", showing the Pole as a piglet. Partly as a victim in the slaughterhouse of history, and partly as a pig that does dirty things to others. Once a hero who hides Jews in a barn, once a torturer who burns them in a barn.”

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Germans Good Poles Bad The Forward features Bieganski

Laura E. Adkins from her website
Czeslawa Kwoka, 14-year-old Polish Catholic murdered in Auschwitz. 

The Forward, "one of the most influential American Jewish publications," advances the bigoted, divisive, and history-distorting Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype in a January 31, 2023 article by Forward opinion editor Laura E. Adkins. The article is entitled "Poland and Germany Have Long Taken Opposing Approaches to Holocaust Remembrance. Touring Them with Doug Emhoff, the Difference Was Stark."
Doug Emhoff is the husband of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.


Adkins' article could have simply been titled, "Germans Good; Polaks Bad."


Adkins' biography identifies her as "an award-winning writer, editor, and speaker based in New York. She is the Opinion Editor of the Forward."