Hilde Zadek: Soprano, Proud Jew, and Zionist

July 31 2019

In February, the singer Hilde Zadek, whose career spanned decades at the Venna State Opera, died at the age of one-hundred-one. Born to a Jewish family in eastern Germany, Zadek made her formal debut at the Opera in 1947 in the title role of Aida, to an audience including no small number of recent Nazis. Jay Nordlinger writes:

An important incident had occurred in 1934: Hilde Zadek overheard a schoolmate say, “Es stinkt nach Juden”—“It reeks of Jews.” She punched the girl in the face, knocking out her front teeth. Hilde was expelled from school and then had to flee—not to another city but to another country. She went, age sixteen, to Palestine.

There, she trained as a pediatric nurse. She also studied singing—with Rose Pauly, a Hungarian soprano who had [also] fled there. Eventually, the rest of the Zadeks came to Palestine, too. This was after [her father], Alex Zadek, had been imprisoned in a concentration camp, Sachsenhausen. Others in the family—the extended family—were not so lucky.

In 1945, when the war ended, she returned to Europe [to pursue her musical career]. She never lost her connection to Palestine, or Israel—in fact, it strengthened. She taught in Israel a lot, pro bono. She worked to put voice instruction in that country on a solid footing. She was constantly concerned with the development and success of Israeli singers.

From official Austria, she garnered many honors. . . . In her last years, she was asked a simple question: do you want anything? She said she would think about it, overnight. And, in fact, she did want something: as Austria had honored her, she would like to be honored by Israel. After a process, Israel did agree to honor her—but this was never consummated: Hilde Zadek never got back to Israel and did not receive the honor.

She had one final wish: “After I die, tell my friends that Israel offered to honor me.” She wanted them to know. It was important to her.

Read more at National Review

More about: German Jewry, Nazi Germany, Opera, Vienna, Zionism


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy