The Forgotten Pioneer of Holocaust Memory

Born in what was now Latvia, David Boder (1886-1975) emigrated to the U.S. following the Russian revolution and pursued a successful career as a professor of psychology. In 1946, he began visiting European displaced-persons (DP) camps, recording equipment in hand, to interview survivors about their wartime experiences. He may have been the very first to undertake such a project, which produced over 90 hours of recordings. Jack Doyle writes:

It took more than a year of determined fundraising before Boder headed to Europe as an archivist and scholar to record firsthand accounts. It hadn’t been easy, because in 1946 not many wanted to hear from survivors. “It was too recent a memory, too recent a hurt,” explains Ralph Pugh, an archivist with the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Voices of the Holocaust project, which houses digitized versions of Boder’s interviews. . . .

But Boder was undeterred. Over the course of two months, he interviewed 130 people: young and old, male and female, of many nationalities, but all DPs . . . who had been held in internment and extermination camps. The interviews describe, in agonizing detail, the experiences we [now known as the] Holocaust, including death marches, mass executions, gas chambers, [and] families separated and extinguished. . . .

Boder’s work remained obscure for years. He spent the rest of his career dedicated to disseminating his interviews, writing the book I Did Not Interview the Dead and taking eight years to revisit, translate, and type 70 stories. He sent copies to academic libraries, including Yale, Princeton and Harvard. But [his work garnered little attention].

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Read more at OZY

More about: DP Camps, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Holocaust remembrance, Holocaust survivors

As Vladimir Putin Sidles Up to the Mullahs, the Threat to the U.S. and Israel Grows

On Tuesday, Russia launched an Iranian surveillance satellite into space, which the Islamic Republic will undoubtedly use to increase the precision of its military operations against its enemies. The launch is one of many indications that the longstanding alliance between Moscow and Tehran has been growing stronger and deeper since the Kremlin’s escalation in Ukraine in February. Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, and Katherine Lawlor write:

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi have spoken at least four times since the invasion began—more than either individual has engaged most other world leaders. Putin visited Tehran in July 2022, marking his first foreign travel outside the territory of the former Soviet Union since the war began. These interactions reflect a deepening and potentially more balanced relationship wherein Russia is no longer the dominant party. This partnership will likely challenge U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe.

Tehran has traditionally sought to purchase military technologies from Moscow rather than the inverse. The Kremlin fielding Iranian drones in Ukraine will showcase these platforms to other potential international buyers, further benefitting Iran. Furthermore, Russia has previously tried to limit Iranian influence in Syria but is now enabling its expansion.

Deepening Russo-Iranian ties will almost certainly threaten U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe. Iranian material support to Russia may help the Kremlin achieve some of its military objectives in Ukraine and eastern Europe. Russian support of Iran’s nascent military space program and air force could improve Iranian targeting and increase the threat it poses to the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East. Growing Iranian control and influence in Syria will enable the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [to use its forces in that country] to threaten U.S. military bases in the Middle East and our regional partners, such as Israel and Turkey, more effectively. Finally, Moscow and Tehran will likely leverage their deepening economic ties to mitigate U.S. sanctions.

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Read more at Critical Threats

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, U.S. Security, Vladimir Putin