Call me a humorless feminist, but I’ve always thought certain subjects were beyond the realm of comedy: Helen Keller, rape, the Holocaust. But then last week I caught a clip of Joan Rivers’ E! show “Fashion Police.” While critiquing a photo of Heidi Klum wearing this dress, Rivers quipped, “The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens.” And then something odd happened. I laughed.
I’m Jewish. So is Joan Rivers. Does being in “the club” mean that it’s okay to laugh at jokes about our own people? One of the reasons I don’t think Holocaust jokes are funny is that they poke fun at people who are victims, and it’s much funnier to laugh at the bullies. Did I laugh because Rivers was making fun of a German person in relation to the Holocaust, instead of a Jewish one? Keep reading »
Well, this sounds rather strange: Promoters in Israel organized a “Miss Holocaust Survivor” pageant. Three hundred women from across the country signed up to compete, and 14 finalists were chosen. Pageant organizer Shimon Sabag said the pageant’s popularity was a sign that it was in good taste, but Colette Avital, chair of one of Israel’s leading Holocaust survivors’ groups, said, “It sounds totally macabre to me. I’m in favor of enriching lives, but a one-time pageant masquerading [survivors] … is not what is going to make their lives more meaningful.” Keep reading »
Jerzy Bielecki was 19-year-old when he was thrown into a German concentration camp, accused of being a member of the Polish resistance. Bielecki spent three years at the camps before he met Cyla Cybulska, a young Polish Jew who was sent there with her brothers and parents. Cyla was the only one of her family to survive, and was sent to work in the camp’s grain warehouse, where she met Jerzy. The pair were only allowed to speak a minimum of words to one another, but over the course of the next eight months, the two fell in love. And that’s when Jerzy hatched a scheme to save the love of his life and escape the camp. Keep reading »
Supposedly, Britney Spears has been offered a role in an upcoming film that promises to be as much of a trainwreck as she is. The flick, called “The Yellow Star of Sophia,” is about the Holocaust, time travel, and (of course) love. If she accepts the role, Britney will be playing a gal who invents a time machine and travels back to World War II. She falls for a Jewish guy in a concentration camp, but their relationship is an epic failure because both of them get murdered by Nazis. Wait, what is a shiksa like Britney doing in a movie about Jews? Did these casting schmucks see “Crossroads?” If so, what on earth makes them think BritBrit can do a serious drama? Please tell me this isn’t supposed to be a comedy. [Haaretz] Keep reading »
Berkley Books, an imprint of large book publisher, Penguin, has canceled the publication of the Oprah-endorsed Holocaust memoir, “Angel at the Fence,” after allegations of its validity were made by Jewish groups, family, and friends. “Angel at the Fence” was supposed to come out in February, and told the love story of Herman and Rosa Rosenblat — in the memoir, Mr. Rosenblat claimed that his life was saved when young Rosa (then Roma Radzicky, also a prisoner at the concentration camp) threw him apples over a fence to prevent him from starving. Rosenblat said they found each other years later, set up on a blind date. “I wanted to bring happiness to people,” Rosenblat said in a statement issued Saturday through his agent, Andrea Hurst. “I brought hope to a lot of people. My motivation was to make good in this world.”
Though there is no doubt Rosenblat was a Holocaust concentration camp survivor, serious doubts exist that he could have met his wife in the ways he describes in the book. Thus, Jewish groups and scholars worry that such inaccuracies would only encourage Holocaust deniers. Keep reading »
When Herman Rosenblat was a teenager, he was in a Nazi death camp in Schlieben, Germany. Roma Radziki, a girl a couple years younger, worked at a farm outside the camp. The two saw each other on opposite sides of the fence one day and Roma threw Herman an apple. This continued every day, but the two never spoke because they were scared the guards would see them. Then, one day Herman told Roma she wouldn’t see him anymore. He thought he was going to die, but then the Russians came in and liberated the camp, and Herman ended up going to London to be an electrician. Meanwhile, Roma went to nursing school in Israel. Later, Herman moved to America and a friend told him he wanted to fix him up on a blind date. Reluctantly, Herman went, and as he and his date talked about their wartime experiences, Roma mentioned throwing apples over a fence to a boy. Herman said, “That was me” and proposed to her that night. Two months later she accepted, and this year, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. [AP] Keep reading »