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Behind the Aegis

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Canadian Jewish Book Awards Present Diverse Honor Roll

A chronicle of Nazi persecution of gay people, a study of Jews and obscenity, and a haunting artistic collaboration are among the wide-ranging winners of this year’s Canadian Jewish Book Awards. After an announcement last week, the awards will be presented at a May 27 ceremony in Toronto.

With its other accolades for a Holocaust diary, a poetic history of Salonika’s Jews, and a novel about Jewish immigrants in South Africa, this year’s honor roll defies easy categorization. “It was an excellent year for Jewish books,” said Natalie Kertes, director of literary programs at Toronto’s Koffler Centre of the Arts, which runs the awards.


What the prize-winners don’t all share, however, is Jewishness. And Ken Setterington, author of “Branded by the Pink Triangle” (Second Story Press), said the award has even more meaning for him as a result.

“I was certainly surprised to receive the honor but, to be quite honest, delighted,” Setterington told the Forward. “My book tells the story of the men who were persecuted in the Holocaust because of their sexuality, not their religion. My challenge was not to compare the numbers or the suffering of the men in comparison to the Jews, or any other persecuted group, but rather to make readers aware that homosexuals were persecuted. It is for that reason that I was thrilled to receive a Jewish prize.”

more: http://blogs.forward.com/the-arty-semite/198359/canadian-jewish-book-awards-present-diverse-honor/?

Branded by the Pink Triangle

Before the rise of the Nazi party, Germany, especially Berlin, was one of the most tolerant places for homosexuals in the world. Activists such as Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein campaigned openly for the rights of gay men and women and tried to repeal the law against homosexuality. But that all changed when the Nazis came to power; existence for gay people became fear-filled. Raids, arrests, prison sentences and expulsions became the daily reality. When the concentration camps were built, homosexuals were imprisoned along with Jews and any other groups the Nazis wanted to suppress.

The pink triangle sewn onto prison uniforms became the symbol of the persecution of homosexuals, a persecution that would continue for many years after the war. A mix of historical research, first-person accounts and individual stories brings this time to life for young readers. Stories of bravery in the face of inhuman cruelty, friendship found in the depths of despair in the camps and the perseverance of the human spirit will educate and inspire.
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Mon May 19, 2014, 03:25 AM (2 replies)

World War II as you've NEVER seen it before!Light-hearted photos of nude British and Allied soldiers

Full Title: World War II as you've NEVER seen it before! Light-hearted photos of nude British and Allied soldiers revealed in eye-opening new book (NSFW? There are photos at the link...hineys only.)

From the horrors of the Blitz to kamikaze attacks in the Pacific, World War II inflicted terrible suffering on troops and civilians alike.

But as these photos reveal, soldiers fighting the war, whether in the Far East or Europe, did enjoy some more light-hearted moments.

Hidden away in the attics of former servicemen for more than 60 years, the pictures, which show soldiers from the UK, Australia and the USA among others, shed fresh light on the friendships fostered between the men who fought.

The photos, which appear in a new book, My Buddy: World War II Laid Bare, are drawn from an archive created by Los Angeles based photographer, Michael Stokes, which contains more than 500 images of off-duty World War II soldiers.

His extensive collection includes snapshots of soldiers and sailors from Australia, the UK, France, Italy, Poland, Russia, and the USA, cavorting on the sand in the South Pacific, shivering in the snow of Eastern Europe, posing solo in the barracks, and in great happy groups.

more: (remember, photos included!!!) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2622554/World-War-II-youve-NEVER-seen-Light-hearted-photos-nude-British-Allied-soldiers-offer-surprising-snapshot-life-line.html

Definitely a different take on WWII. Personally, I think it also gives an insight into how nudity was viewed. I know "Life" published several similar photos throughout WWII.
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu May 15, 2014, 02:59 PM (6 replies)

Reaction Time: Keep Holocaust Denial Out Of The Curriculum

This week, eighth grade students in Rialto were assigned an argumentative essay. In this assignment, they were asked to research, cite textual evidence and provide an argument – all things that are pretty standard for a junior high writing assignment.

The subject matter, however, was less than standard. The prompt given to the students was to “Write an argumentative essay, based upon cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe this was an actual event in history or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth…”

Incredibly, the “this” that is referred to in the prompt is the Holocaust.

That’s right. Eighth graders in Rialto this week were assigned an essay asking them to argue whether or not the Holocaust happened or whether it was simply a “political scheme,” created by Jews I assume, to “influence public emotion and gain wealth.”

more: http://www.neontommy.com/news/2014/05/reaction-time-keep-holocaust-denial-out-curriculum
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Wed May 7, 2014, 03:40 AM (0 replies)

From the "what the hell" files: Rialto Unified says Holocaust debate assignment will not be repeated

Word that Rialto Unified School District had assigned middle school students an essay on whether the Holocaust occurred or was “merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain” brought swift reaction Monday, even as the district reversed course and acknowledged the assignment was inappropriate.

Throughout the day Monday, the district fielded angry calls from parents, a death threat and a flurry of media inquiries over the assignment, which district officials initially defended as an effort to teach students to think critically. Ultimately, however, administrators acknowledged the assignment was in poor taste and promised it would not be given again.

“Our interim superintendent will be talking with our Educational Services Department to assure that any references to the Holocaust ‘not occurring’ will be stricken on any current or future Argumentative Research projects,” district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri said in a prepared statement late Sunday.

The assignment was given to Rialto Unified’s approximately 2,000 eighth-grade students in April, requiring them to cite sources for their point of view.

“When tragic events occur in history, there is often debate about their actual existence,” the assignment reads. “For example, some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual historical event, but instead is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain. Based upon your research on this issue, write an argumentative essay, utilizing cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain. Remember to address counterclaims (rebuttals) to your stated claim. You are also required to use parenthetical (internal) citations and to provide a Works Cited page.”

more: http://www.sbsun.com/social-affairs/20140505/rialto-unified-changes-tune-on-holocaust-debate-essay-project

Is it any wonder why anti-Semitism refuses to die?
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Tue May 6, 2014, 03:45 PM (9 replies)

President Obama Announces May As Jewish American Heritage Month

President Barack Obama issued Wednesday a Presidential proclamation announcing the month of May as the Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM).

The President's proclamation:

A national month of recognition of the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture, JAHM acknowledges the achievements of American Jews in fields ranging from sports and arts and entertainment to medicine, business, science, government, and military service.

For thousands of years, the Jewish people have sustained their identity and traditions, persevering in the face of persecution. Through generations of enslavement and years of wandering, through forced segregation and the horrors of the Holocaust, they have maintained their holy covenant and lived according to the Torah. Their pursuit of freedom brought multitudes to our shores, and today our country is the proud home to millions of Jewish Americans. This month, let us honor their tremendous contributions — as scientists and artists, as activists and entrepreneurs. And let all of us find inspiration in a story that speaks to the universal human experience, with all of its suffering and all of its salvation.

This history led many Jewish Americans to find common cause with the Civil Rights Movement. African Americans and Jewish Americans marched side-by-side in Selma and Montgomery. They boarded buses for Freedom Rides together, united in their support of liberty and human dignity. These causes remain just as urgent today. Jewish communities continue to confront anti-Semitism — both around the world and, as tragic events mere weeks ago in Kansas reminded us, here in the United States. Following in the footsteps of Jewish civil rights leaders, we must come together across all faiths, reject ignorance and intolerance, and root out hatred wherever it exists.

In celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month, we also renew our unbreakable bond with the nation of Israel. It is a bond that transcends politics, a partnership built on mutual interests and shared ideals. Our two countries are enriched by diversity and faith, fueled by innovation, and ruled not only by men and women, but also by laws. As we continue working in concert to build a safer, more prosperous, more tolerant world, may our friendship only deepen in the years to come.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2014 as Jewish American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to visit www.JewishHeritageMonth.gov to learn more about the heritage and contributions of Jewish Americans and to observe this month, the theme of which is healing the world, with appropriate programs, activities, and ceremonies.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu May 1, 2014, 12:55 AM (0 replies)

10 U.S. States Most Plagued By Hate Crimes


Congress defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.” Usually, these are crimes that are violent in nature, and can include offenses like murder, assault, arson or vandalism.

While many people realize that violence against the LGBT community is considered a hate crime, it wasn’t that way until 2009. The passage of a new law gave the federal government the authority to prosecute violent hate crimes against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act also helped with the prosecution of hate crimes based on sexual orientation by providing funding and assistance to states and other jurisdictions to help them investigate, prosecute, and prevent hate crimes.

According to the FBI, in 2012, 48.3% of 5,790 single-bias incidents in 2012 were racially motivated, while 19.6% were based on sexual orientation and 19% from religious bias. Of the 5,331 known offenders, 54.6% of them were white, and 23.3% were black.


One very important note to consider when looking at these rankings is that there are many variables at play that may or may not be quantifiable. When looking at these rankings, it’s important to remember that these stats are only a small piece of the puzzle and are not, of course, definitive proof that any one state has more hatred or bias than any other. These are simply statistics of reported crimes during a certain period of time.

more: http://www.therichest.com/rich-list/most-shocking/10-u-s-states-most-plagued-by-hate-crimes/

10. Maine – 3.91 crimes per 100,000 people
9. Washington – 3.95 crimes per 100,000 people
8. Nevada – 4.15 crimes per 100,000 people
7. Connecticut – 4.17 crimes per 100,000 people
6. Alabama – 4.25 crimes per 100,000 people
5. Tennessee – 4.91 crimes per 100,000 people
4. Kentucky – 5.31 crimes per 100,000 people
3. North Dakota – 5.95 crimes per 100,000 people
2. Michigan – 6.38 crimes per 100,000 people (Note: Michigan is one of several states that do not classify violence against members of the LGBT community as a hate crime)
1. District of Columbia – 11.39 crimes per 100,000 people
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Wed Apr 30, 2014, 05:04 PM (17 replies)

Op-Ed: How to Explain the Nazis' Obsession with Jews?

For years after returning from the hell created by the Germans of the Third Reich, I tried to understand the reason for the unfathomable and irrational hatred – if one can call it that – towards us.

How is it that tens of millions of allegedly normative people became worse than predators? After all, most predators only kill when they are hungry or feel threatened. The Germans were definitely not hungry and couldn't have felt threatened by the Jews. Did we declare war on them? Did we claim territories from them?

It's true that in order to justify their impossible acts, the mass murder in cold blood and in the most sadistic methods of millions of men, women and children, according to a well-calculated plan – they claimed that the Jews were planning to take over the world. And they, the courageous Germans, decided to rescue humanity from this danger. There is no need to state just how false and ridiculous this claim was.

The years went by and, needless to say, I failed to find any explanation to the Germans' wild and unrestrained behavior, to that unprecedented hatred in human history. I have reached the conclusion that there is simply no answer and no explanation. Other than, of course, the anti-Semitism which has turned into a real disease and tradition passed on from generation to generation, up to this very day.

The Germans, as an advanced and organized nation, did not settle for allegedly spontaneous pogroms, like the Crusades or the 17th-century pogroms in Ukraine and Russia. The Inquisition era in Spain didn't serve as a model to them either. No, the Germans murdered and destroyed according to a method and a plan, loyal to their dominant "motto": "Ordnung muss sein" – there must be order.

more: http://www.shalomlife.com/news/23115/op-ed-how-to-explain-the-nazis-obsession-with-jews/
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Wed Apr 30, 2014, 01:40 AM (11 replies)

FBI Director: Better Hate Crime Tracking Needed

State and local law enforcement need to do a better job of tracking and reporting hate crimes so that the public can "fully understand what is happening in our communities, and how to stop it," FBI Director James Comey said Monday.

Comey told an Anti-Defamation League summit that some jurisdictions fail to report hate crimes in their communities, while others say that none occurred — "a fact that would be welcome if true."

"We must continue to impress upon our state and local counterparts in every jurisdiction the need to track and report hate crime. It is not something we can ignore or sweep under the rug," he said.

The FBI publishes hate crime statistics — offenses motivated by a bias against a race, religion and sexual orientation, among other classifications — from the data it receives from local law enforcement agencies, but those reports are generally incomplete since not all jurisdictions contribute information.

more: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/fbi-director-hate-crime-tracking-needed-23503580

Damn right! They need to set a standard and not allow certain locales to "decide for themselves" if a crime is hate-motivated or not. They also should consider expanding the definition when it comes to attacks on women.
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Wed Apr 30, 2014, 12:48 AM (1 replies)

In just a few short years, two out of every three European Jews would be gone.

In 1933, approximately 9.5 million Jews lived in Europe, comprising 1.7% of the total European population. This number represented more than 60 percent of the world's Jewish population at that time, estimated at 15.3 million.

In eastern Europe:
Poland, with about 3,000,000 Jews (9.5%) (by 1950, 45,000);
the European part of the Soviet Union, with 2,525,000 (3.4%);
Romania, with 756,000 (4.2%) (by 1950, 280,000);
Latvia, 95,600 (4.9%);
Lithuania, 155,000 (7.6%);
Estonia, 4,560 (0.4%).

In central Europe:
Germany, with about 500,000 members (0.75%) (by 1950, 37,000);
Hungary, with 445,000 (5.1%) (by 1950, 190,000) ;
Czechoslovakia, with 357,000 (2.4%) (by 1950, 17,000);
Austria, with 191,000 (2.8%) (by 1950, 18,000).

In western Europe:
Great Britain, with 300,000 Jews (0.65%);
France, with 250,000 (0.6%) (some 75,300 French Jews died in the camps);
the Netherlands, with 156,000 (1.8%) (after the war, 35,000 were left);
Belgium,60,000 Jews (0.7%) (at the end of the war, about 35,770 remained);
Spain, 4,000 (0.02%);
Portugal, 1,200 (0.02%)

In Scandinavia:
Sweden, 6,700 (0.11%);
Denmark, 5,700 (0.15%) (almost 99% of Danish Jews survived because of the actions of the people of Denmark);
Finland, 1,800 (0.05%);
Norway, 1,400 (0.05%) (765 were killed under Nazi occupation).

In southern Europe:
Greece, with about 73,000 (1.2%) (by 1950, 7,000);
Yugoslavia, 68,000 (0.49%) (by 1950, 3,500);
Italy, 48,000 (0.11%) (by 1950, 35,000);
Bulgaria, 48,500 (0.8%) (by 1950, 6,500);
Albania, 200 (0.02%).

(sources: pre-WWII stats, post-WWII stats and other stats from various sites)

It is vital to understand not all Jews were killed in the death camps. In countries like Romania, Ukraine, and Poland, many Jews were killed by their own countrymen. The numbers above are not complete, but give an overall idea of what happened. While today is Yom HaShoah in Israel (Holocaust Remembrance Day) (sundown Sunday, until sundown Monday), there are other days which remember the deaths of all the victims of the Holocaust, such as International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th, as set aside by the UN. Other countries have set aside their own days as listed here: Holocaust Memorial Days.

Never Again!

My family was from Belarus. Those who didn't leave during the Russian Pogroms, are no longer there.
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Mon Apr 28, 2014, 01:51 AM (33 replies)

Israel gears up to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day

Source: Jerusalem Post

On Sunday evening and Monday Israelis will mark Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day with memorials across the country. The commemoration of the six million European Jews murdered by the Germans will commence with torch lighting ceremony attended by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and other senior officials at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. Chief Rabbis Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau, as well as Lau’s father, Israel Meir Lau, himself a former chief rabbi and chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, will also be present.

Six Holocaust survivors are slated to light torches, each representing one million victims. Following the opening ceremony, whose theme this year is “Jews On the Edge 1944: Between Annihilation and Liberation,” Yad Vashem will hold a symposium on Holocaust remembrance in Israel at Tel Aviv’s Habimah Theater.

Yom HaShoah this year comes only weeks after Frazier Glenn Miller, an elder white supremacist, killed three people at a Kansas Jewish Community Center. As he was taken away by police following the shooting, the former Klansman shouted Heil Hitler. The memory of the Holocaust has been at the center of several political disputes this year, with Ukrainians and Russians trading barbs of antisemitism and unknown actors urging Jews in Eastern Ukraine to register themselves.


To mark the 70th anniversary of the mass deportation and murder of over 585,000 Hungarian Jews during World War II, hundreds of highschool students from across the globe will travel by train from Budapest to Auschwitz, where they will join 10,000 other students to march to the Birkenau extermination camp.

Read more: http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Israel-gears-up-to-mark-Holocaust-Remembrance-Day-350501
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Sun Apr 27, 2014, 01:44 AM (61 replies)
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