A Great Austrian Jewish Writer’s Diaries of Europe on the Edge of the Holocaust

Best known for his memoir The World of Yesterday—an elegy for the pre-World War I Hapsburg empire—the Austrian Jewish writer Stefan Zweig also wrote fiction, biographies, and much else, becoming one of the most popular German-language writers of his day. His work even inspired a 2014 film by the director Wes Anderson. Reviewing Zweig’s diaries from the years 1931 to 1940, recently published in English, Robert Philpot writes:

Zweig’s pessimism about the fascist threat is evident from the outset of his 1931 diary. “The political panorama looks grim,” he writes in October 1931. And, referring to the armed far-right militia formed shortly after World War I: “The Heimwehr acting out in the open worries me. It is all causing me to become obsessed with finding a temporary refuge.” Days later, as the economic crisis worsened, Zweig wrote: “I am sure there’s another coup brewing, and I think it will be successful.”

On a trip from Paris to London four years later—by which time he had fled Austria and Hitler was installed in power—Zweig’s apprehensions about the future had grown. “Each new day we are more prepared for a new cataclysm, always feeling that low underground rumble in our hearts,” he notes. “We are constantly seeing the straight being made crooked and the plain being made rough. It’s as if a drunken madman has taken hold of the world’s rudder and is sending us zigzagging into the abyss.”

Appalled by the growth of National Socialism in his native Austria, Zweig went into exile in Britain in 1934, but he remained on the Nazis’ radar: his books were banned, citizenship revoked, and his name and address in London entered into the notorious “Black Book”—a hit list of prominent Britons and refugees whom the SS intended to round up after it occupied the UK.”

Fearing just such an occupation of Britain, Zweig fled to Brazil in 1940. Two years later, he committed suicide.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Austrian Jewry, Nazi Germany, Stefan Zweig, World War II

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy