Hitler’s Maestro and the Cellist of Auschwitz

While the celebrated German conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler long considered himself “apolitical,” and for a time even stood up to the demands of the Nazis, he eventually made what the music critic Norman Lebrecht calls a “Faustian” bargain with Joseph Goebbels. Furtwängler was able to ply his trade, and became a favorite of the Führer, while many former members of his orchestra were sent to their deaths. This documentary by the German broadcaster DW intertwines his story with that of the Jewish cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, who was a young woman when Adolf Hitler took control of Germany. Upon arriving in Auschwitz, she became the cellist of the death camp’s women’s orchestra, and survived to tell her tale. (Video, 86 minutes.)

Read more at DW

More about: Auschwitz, Classical music, German Jewry, Holocaust

Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria