The Jews of Hitler’s Munich

The earliest records of Jewish life in the Bavarian city of Munich date back to the 13th century. The same city was also home to Adolf Hitler in the years just before and just after World War I, and it was there in 1923 that he and his fellow Nazis tried, and failed, to overthrow the German government. Reviewing the historian Michael Brenner’s book In Hitler’s Munich: Jews, the Revolution, and the Rise of Nazism, Tevi Troy writes:

There was even a Jewish premier of Bavaria in the years after World War I, the journalist and revolutionary Kurt Eisner. Eisner was assassinated by an anti-Semite, Count Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley. Arco-Valley, as he is more commonly known, had Jewish ancestry—a reminder of the complicated nature of German-Jewish relationships even before the rise of Nazism. . . . Brenner . . . makes the interesting counterfactual claim that if somehow Eisner had not been assassinated and had helped navigate Germany to a successful post-World War I democratic status, the history books of today might see Germany in a similar light as France.

And yet, as Brenner explains, the Eisner assassination was far from the only anti-Semitic flashpoint of those years. He also explores Germany’s equivalent of the Dreyfus trial: the accusation and unjust conviction of the German-Jewish journalist Felix Fechenbach for treason. As in the Dreyfus affair, the case against Fechenbach had anti-Semitic origins and ended with a pardon.

Things were bad for the Jews in Germany in some ways, but good in other ways. The Jews had a long history there and had success in many important fields. In addition, some of the surrounding nations, such as Russia and Poland, were often far worse to their Jewish populations. The Jews had reasons to think that Germany, while not perfect, might have been the best option for them at the time.

And yet, with the Eisner assassination and the Fechenbach trial, and Jews beaten on the streets of Munich in random fashion—a phenomenon that unfortunately happens all too often in America today—most German Jews decided that staying in Germany was a viable option. Tragically, of course, this was very much not the case.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

More about: Adolf Hitler, Anti-Semitism, German Jewry, Germany, Holocaust


The ICJ’s Vice-President Explains What’s Wrong with Its Recent Ruling against Israel

It should be obvious to anyone with even rudimentary knowledge of the Gaza war that Israel is not committing genocide there, or anything even remotely akin to it. In response to such spurious accusations, it’s often best to focus on the mockery they make of international law itself, or on how Israel can most effectively combat them. Still, it is also worth stopping to consider the legal case on its own terms. No one has done this quite so effectively, to my knowledge, as the Ugandan jurist Julia Sebutinde, who is the vice-president of the ICJ and the only one of its judges to rule unequivocally in Israel’s favor both in this case and in the previous one where it found accusations of genocide “plausible.”

Sebutinde begins by questioning the appropriateness of the court ruling on this issue at all:

Once again, South Africa has invited the Court to micromanage the conduct of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Such hostilities are exclusively governed by the laws of war (international humanitarian law) and international human-rights law, areas where the Court lacks jurisdiction in this case.

The Court should also avoid trying to enforce its own orders. . . . Is the Court going to reaffirm its earlier provisional measures every time a party runs to it with allegations of a breach of its provisional measures? I should think not.

Sebutinde also emphasizes the absurdity of hearing this case after Israel has taken “multiple concrete actions” to alleviate the suffering of Gazan civilians since the ICJ’s last ruling. In fact, she points out, “the evidence actually shows a gradual improvement in the humanitarian situation in Gaza since the Court’s order.” She brings much evidence in support of these points.

She concludes her dissent by highlighting the procedural irregularities of the case, including a complete failure to respect the basic rights of the accused:

I find it necessary to note my serious concerns regarding the manner in which South Africa’s request and incidental oral hearings were managed by the Court, resulting in Israel not having sufficient time to file its written observations on the request. In my view, the Court should have consented to Israel’s request to postpone the oral hearings to the following week to allow for Israel to have sufficient time to fully respond to South Africa’s request and engage counsel. Regrettably, as a result of the exceptionally abbreviated timeframe for the hearings, Israel could not be represented by its chosen counsel, who were unavailable on the dates scheduled by the Court.

It is also regrettable that Israel was required to respond to a question posed by a member of the Court over the Jewish Sabbath. The Court’s decisions in this respect bear upon the procedural equality between the parties and the good administration of justice by the Court.

Read more at International Court of Justice

More about: Gaza War 2023, ICC, International Law