January will mark the 80th anniversary of the National Socialists’ seizure of power, and popular interest in the history of the era that followed is as vivid as ever: 34-year-old Laurent Binet’s HHhH, winner of the prestigious Goncourt prize, reconstructs Operation Anthropoid, the skewed but ultimately successful mission of Czech resistance fighters to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, National Socialist Obergruppenführer, Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, and head of the German secret services. (HHhH is an acronym for “Himmlers Hirn heißt Heydrich,” – Himmler’s brain is Heydrich – which is how Heydrich’s function was described in Nazi circles.) Continue reading
50 Jewish Artist You Should Know presents the lives and work of the most important Jewish painters, sculptors, and visual artists of the past two hundred years, as selected by the author Edward van Voolen,
curator at the Joods Historisch Museum, Amsterdam, as well as rabbi and teacher at the Abraham Geiger Kolleg, Potsdam. The book is a joy to read. The concise introduction sketches the history of Jewish art of the past three thousand years, describing major events and personalities – Bezalel, the first biblical artist, and his successors –, but avoiding the pitfall of seeking too much common ground among the artists based solely on their Jewish family backgrounds.
Constantin Brunner (1862–1937) is one of the philosophical authors whose work remains to be discovered. On the occasion of his 150th birthday and the 75th anniversary of his death, the Jewish Museum hosted a conference that traced the whole range of his thought and personality.
The German Jewish philosopher, pen-named Brunner while originally named Leo Wertheimer, was born in Altona outside of Hamburg. He studied religion, philosophy, and history in Cologne, Berlin, and Freiburg, and subsequently lived and worked in Hamburg as an editor and writer, until devoting himself to the development of his own philosophical system, starting in 1895 in Berlin and then from 1913 in Potsdam. Continue reading