Reviving the Music of the Last Jewish Record Label Left Standing Under Nazi Rule

Dec. 19 2016

In 1932, Hirsch Levin founded Semer Records, a label devoted to producing and preserving the music of Jewish Berlin. Six years later, on Kristallnacht, the Nazis burned 4,500 of Semer’s records, subsequently destroying all of its master recordings and murdering most of its artists. For nearly 50 years, this music was thought lost until, scouring the globe for surviving records, a German musicologist successfully reconstituted much of Semer’s catalogue.

Now a group of Jewish musicians calling themselves the Semer Ensemble has recorded an album of twelve of these rescued songs. Rescued Treasure covers a range of styles from cabaret to pop originally sung by the German Jewish star Willy Rosen.

Among the five Yiddish-language songs on the album is “Scholem Baith” (“domestic tranquility”), about a dysfunctional couple who repeatedly argue and make up. “With its absurd threats of suicide,” Jordan Kutzik writes, “vicious curses and an over-the-top yet unironic sensibility, the routine serves as a charming remnant of a nearly-forgotten Yiddish cabaret tradition.”

Listen to one of the songs here:

Read more at Forward

More about: Arts & Culture, German Jewry, History & Ideas, Kristallnacht, Music

Close the PLO Office in Washington

April 24 2017

In the wake of the Oslo Accords, and in order to facilitate futher negotiations, Congress carved out an exception to the 1987 Anti-Terrorism Act to permit the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)—a known terrorist group—to open an office in the U.S. capital. The legislation allows the president to extend this “temporary” waiver at his discretion—which every president since Bill Clinton has done. Shoshana Bryen argues that putting an end to the policy is a proper punishment for the PLO’s continued financial support for terrorists and their families.

[The waiver] was conditional on the PLO’s meeting its Oslo Accords obligations, including refraining from terrorism and renouncing international moves that would impede a bilateral agreement on final-status issues. . . .

In 2011, a Palestinian bid for recognition as a full member of the UN failed, but the waiver remained. Over U.S. objections, “Palestine” joined the International Criminal Court in 2015 [in violation of the Accords and thus of the waiver’s conditions]. . . .

[Furthermore], worried about foreign-aid payments from the U.S. and the EU, in 2014 the Palestinian Authority (PA) claimed it stopped paying salaries [to terrorists and their familites] and that future money would come from a new PLO Commission of Prisoner Affairs. . . . [I]n 2015, a year after the PA “officially” transferred authority over Palestinian prisoners to the PLO, it also transferred an extra 444-million shekels (more than $116 million) to the PLO—nearly the same amount that the PA had allocated in the previous years to its now-defunct Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs. . . .

[T]he U.S. government should let the PLO and PA know that we are onto their game. Disincentivizing terrorism by closing the PLO office in Washington would be a good first step.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, PLO, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy