A Forgotten Holocaust Movie from 1943

In 1943, Columbia Pictures produced Hollywood’s first Holocaust film, None Shall Escape, which tells the story of Wilhelm Grimm’s transformation from likable schoolteacher to embittered World War I veteran to SS officer. After decades of obscurity, the movie has returned to circulation. Thomas Doherty describes the climactic scene, in which Grimm presides over the deportation of the Jews from a Polish village:

Shot in noirish night-for-night photography, the deportation sequence shows the Jews of the village, and a shipment from Warsaw, being herded into box cars for transport to what can only be a death camp, not a concentration camp; the wails of the terrified victims ring out on the soundtrack. Grimm orders the rabbi to quiet his people, but the man has no intention of facilitating the Nazi depredations. Richard Hale, the actor who plays the rabbi, would later accrue countless credits as a character actor in film and television, but he never again commanded a moment so powerfully as in this, his first screen role. Framed in close-up, with minimal cutaways, he delivers a searing indictment of anti-Semitism—and a rousing call to arms. . . .

The Jews, [inspired by his words], run from the box cars and attack their guards, but the cause is hopeless: in an extended and excruciating bloodbath, the rebels are mowed down by Nazi machine guns. After the massacre, the unbowed rabbi tells Grimm, “We will never die—it will be you, all of you!”

Grimm shoots him point-blank in the stomach, but the rabbi is a hard man to kill. As the camera scans the bodies strewn on the ground and in the boxcars, he stands up and recites kaddish over his people.

The movie ends with a courtroom scene, where an unrepentant Grimm is on trial for his actions:

Surprisingly, the film denies us the satisfaction of a Nuremberg ending: the hissible Nazi war criminal is not hanged, not even sentenced. “You are the jury,” the presiding judge says into the camera. It is left to us, the custodians of the postwar world, to render a verdict.”

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Arts & Culture, Film, Hollywood, Holocaust

What Israel Can Offer Africa

Last week, the Israeli analyst Yechiel Leiter addressed a group of scholars and diplomats gathered in Addis Ababa to discuss security issues facing the Horn of Africa. Herewith, some excerpts from his speech:

Since the advent of Zionism and the birth of modern Israel, there has been a strong ideological connection between Israel and the African continent. . . . For decades, [however], the notion that the absence of peace in the Middle East was due the absence of Palestinian statehood prevented a full and strategic partnership with African countries. . . . The visits to Africa by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—in 2016 to East Africa and in 2017 to West Africa—reenergized the natural partnership that was initiated by Israel’s Foreign Minister Golda Meir in the 1960s.

There is much we share, many places where our interests converge. And I don’t mean another military base in Djibouti. . . . One such area involves the safety of waterways in and around the Red Sea. Curtailing contraband, drugs, arms smuggling, and other forms of serious corruption are all vital for us. . . . But the one critical area of cooperation I’d like to put the spotlight on is in the realm of food security, or rather food insecurity.

Imagine Ethiopia’s cows producing 30 or 40 liters of milk a day instead of the two or three that they produce today. Imagine an exponential rise in (organic) meat exports to Middle Eastern and even European countries, the result of increased processing, storage, and transportation possibilities. Cows today can have a microscopic chip behind their ears that sends messages to the farmer’s computer or mobile phone that tracks what the cow ate, what its temperature is, and what care it might need. Imagine a dramatic expansion of the wheat yield that can make Ethiopia a net exporter of wheat—to Egypt, perhaps in the context of negotiations over the waters of the Nile.

Israel has proven technology in all of these agricultural areas and we’re here; we’re neighbors. We are linked to Africa, particularly the Horn of Africa, in so many ways.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Africa, Ethiopia, Israel diplomacy, Israeli agriculture, Israeli technology