November 9, 1988 |
Kristallnacht - Crystal Night - the night hundreds of German and Austrian synagogues were ruthlessly assaulted by Nazis, occurred 50 years ago today. Many who lived through that sleepless night remember the terrible sounds of shattered glass as the beautiful stained-glass windows of synagogues were smashed. Others remember the flames. But the thing I remember most vividly, as a 10-year-old boy, was the clomping of two Gestapo men's hard leather boots against the wooden floors of our Hamburg apartment.
April 8, 1987 |
It was a coincidence at last week's Academy Awards that the two major contenders for best foreign-language film addressed, in very different ways, the decline of western civilization. In a lighter mode, Denys Arcand's Decline of the American Empire argued that in times of decadence and lost purpose, people seek refuge in personal gratification. Fons Rademakers' The Assault, which took the Oscar in a rare outburst of justice within the foreign division, offers an infinitely more sobering and Olympian view of the course of our century.
August 12, 2013 |
Say what you will about Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett, and plenty of people have, at least he's not known as "Governor Flintstone. " That would be Maine's Paul LePage, a fellow Republican that national pundits have listed alongside Corbett as an incumbent governor likely to lose in 2014. "Dead men walking," Politico recently called the two. And there are some similarities. Both have underwater approval ratings, and each has a frosty relationship with his legislature. But LePage, a bedrock tea party warrior, has earned his Stone Age nickname with a hard-edged and sometimes vulgar approach to politics that makes Corbett seem like a cuddly and softspoken centrist.
March 19, 2015 |
Willy Herbst, 93, of Philadelphia, a Holocaust survivor who later helped free prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp, died Tuesday, March 10, of complications from a hip fracture at the Hearth at Drexel in Bala Cynwyd. Mr. Herbst was born in Zaberfeld, Germany, and trained as a baker in Heidelberg. In 1939, at 18, he was among the Jewish men sent to the Paderborn concentration camp by the Nazis to perform forced labor. According to an oral history Mr. Herbst gave the Jewish Virtual Library, he collapsed while being marched to a quarry in late 1939.
December 4, 1987 |
"Dramatic irony" is the device whereby the audience at a play or film knows more than a character - a woman blithely chatting on the phone, for example, when we know she is about to be a murder target. I can think of no film more fitting of the term than "The Wansee Conference," an 85-minute drama from West Germany that opens today at the Roxy Screening Rooms. The film's length is significant. It is a recreation, based on documents unearthed by its producer, Manfred Korytowski, of an actual meeting that took place on a winter's day in 1942 in the Berlin suburb of Wansee.
July 10, 2012
Texas refuses key health-care items LOS ANGELES - Texas turned down an expansion of Medicaid coverage and said it would not create a state-run health-care insurance exchange. In a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released Monday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry laid out his objections. "I will not be party to socializing health care," said Perry, whose bid for the GOP presidential nomination fell flat this year, "and bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution and our founding principles of limited government.
August 9, 2011 |
CANBERRA, Australia - Australian Nancy Wake, who as a spy became one the Allies' most decorated servicewomen for her role in the French Resistance during World War II, died in London Sunday, officials said yesterday. She was 98. Trained by British intelligence in espionage and sabotage, Wake helped to arm and lead 7,000 Resistance fighters in weakening German defenses before the D-Day invasion in the last months of the war. While distributing weapons, money and code books in Nazi-occupied France, she evaded capture many times and reached the top of the Gestapo's wanted list, according to her biographer, Peter FitzSimons.
September 18, 2009 |
Ole Christian Madsen, the Danish director of the exquisitely shot, exciting World War II film Flame & Citron , knows his Hollywood. Set in Nazi-occupied Copenhagen during the final years of the war, Flame is a terrific, if sometimes monotonous, real-life thriller about two members of the Holger Danske resistance movement whose heroism earned them each a posthumous Medal of Honor. With its moody, noir lighting and poetic voice-over, Flame rehearses virtually every element of the classic genre piece: violence, sex and romance, gunplay, spies, betrayals, a femme fatale, and a murderous Gestapo officer.
June 7, 1989 |
It's been three weeks since the arrest of France's last major war criminal, Paul Touvier. Despite some predictions of a cover-up after Touvier was found living in a monastery near Nice, however, there's nothing conspiratorial about the story's quick fade from the U.S. press. Records of Touvier's crimes as intelligence chief of the French Militia in Lyon go back at least 45 years. But media interest has been consumed of late by the more immediate issues of state terrorism in China, an electoral revolution in Poland and the death of an aged tyrant in Iran.