A Literary Investigation into European Civilization’s Betrayal of the Jews—Including Those Who Appreciated It the Most

March 11 2022

The novel Pollak’s Arm, by Hans von Trotha, is based on the real story of a Jewish art expert named Ludwig Pollak. In his review, Ari Hoffman writes:

Translated from German by Elisabeth Lauffer, Pollak’s Arm is a love letter to art and an indictment of the barbarism that all the beauty in the world was powerless to stop. It centers on a conversation between Ludwig Pollak and a German narrator tasked with ushering him to safety.

An archaeologist, art dealer, and director of the Museo Barracco di Scultura Antica [in Rome], Pollak was born in Prague and died in Auschwitz. In 1906 he discovered the long-lost right arm of Laocoön and His Sons, one of the most extraordinary statues of the ancient world.

Pollak’s Arm translates this historical material into fiction by imagining two conversations. The first is between the narrator, known only as “K.,” and an unnamed monsignor in the Vatican about an earlier conversation K. had with Pollak in the latter’s apartment, urging the art dealer to take the Roman Curia up on its offer of refuge for him and his family in the face of an imminent roundup of Jews by the SS.

While K. urges Pollak to rouse his family and flee behind the high walls of the Vatican, Pollak refuses to leave. Instead, he embarks on a string of disquisitions on Jewish and European history and the beautiful things that they made together and apart. . . . We don’t know why Pollak refused the offer of sanctuary. It could be because he saw clearly that a Rome in the process of answering the Jewish question had already betrayed everything on which Ludwig Pollak had staked his life.

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Art, Holocaust, Literature, Western civilization

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy