Secrets and Tragedy: Remembering Arnhem

Sky Warriors: British Airborne Forces in the Second World War Saul David, published by William Collins 2024, pp. 552 The Traitor of Arnhem: WWII’S Greatest Betrayal and the Moment that Changed History Forever Robert Verkaik, published by Headline Welbeck 2024 pp.400 Eighty years ago, thousands of Allied paratroopers jumped out of aircraft and gliders into … Read more

On Pinchas Rutenberg

When Pinchas Rutenberg, one of the giants of the Zionist movement, died in 1942, his friend, the writer Moshe Smilansky described him as “a great engineer with the soul of a poet.” Nevertheless, Rutenberg is missing from the public consciousness, even among those who treasure Jewish history. He stipulated in his will that no funds should … Read more

The KGB and Controlling Russia

From Red Terror to Terrorist State:
Russia’s Intelligence Services and their Fight for World Domination by Yuri Felshtinsky and Vladimir Popov, Gibson Square 2023, “Russia is a strange country in which illegitimate power is best seized through lawful elections.” This comment from the Russian secret service historian Yuri Felshtinsky and former KGB lieutenant-colonel Vladimir Popov, pierces the veneer … Read more

On Birobidzhan

In the aftermath of the French Revolution and the rise of European nationalism in the 19th century, Jews began to understand themselves in terms of more than a religion – a people with a history, a culture, a literature, and a plethora of languages. With the rise of antisemitism, many considered a territorial solution to the … Read more

Remember the Rosenbergs

Seventy years ago, in June 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were electrocuted at Sing-Sing prison in New York — 15 minutes before Shabbat began out of respect for Jewish tradition. It is an anniversary that Jewish organisations in the Diaspora have chosen to ignore — and one that they may not wish to be reminded … Read more

Goodbye Eastern Europe

Review of Goodbye Eastern Europe: An Intimate History of a Divided Land By Jacob Mikanowski, published by Oneworld, London 2023, pp.380   ‘The twentieth century will be the century of the Jews and revolutions’ — so wrote the Hungarian painter, Béla Zombory-Moldaván on hearing about the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian … Read more

A Window of Opportunity

Israel’s Moment: International Support for and Opposition to Establishing the Jewish State, 1945–1949. By Jeffrey Herf. (Cambridge University Press 2022). 500 pp. NAZIS AND COMMUNISTS AFTER 1945 The author of this highly informative book, Jeffrey Herf, is a distinguished researcher of prewar Nazi Germany and, through his numerous publications, the ties between nationalists and Islamists … Read more

The Holocaust: An Unfinished History

The Holocaust: An Unfinished History By Dan Stone, published by Pelican 2023, pp. 402 On 26 November 1942, 532 Jews were rounded up in Oslo by Norwegian plainclothes policemen. They were taken in taxis to the local harbour, placed on the S.S. Donau which took them to Germany, from where they were taken by ‘freight … Read more

Nakam: The Holocaust Survivors who Sought Full-Scale Revenge

Nakam: The Holocaust Survivors who Sought Full-Scale Revenge By Dina Porat, translated by Mark L. Levinson, Published by Stanford University Press 2023, pp. 365 Nakam is the Hebrew for ‘revenge’ — and the fifty men and women who planned mass poisonings of Germans in the immediate aftermath of World War II were the Nokmim, the … Read more

The Origins of the Campaign for Soviet Jewry in the UK

One hundred years ago, on 30 December 1922, four republics, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Transcaucasia, agreed to form a union of states — the Soviet Union. This was to be ‘a decisive step on the path of unification into a World Socialist Soviet Republic’. The same year also saw the first trials of Zionists in … Read more