Several Jewish and Christian leaders intensified criticism of the group opposed to same-sex marriage Friday for using Nazi references in their effort.
“It’s shocking and appalling and deeply unMinnesotan,” said Rabbi Michael Adam Latz, with Shir Tikvah in south Minneapolis. He accused Minnesota for Marriage of using the Bible and Torah and other religious texts to espouse their views against homosexuality.”When did you decide to use a sacred text as a weapon of mass destruction?”
A dozen religious leaders gathered at Shir Tikvah to ask the group trying to block same-sex marriage in the state to apologize and withdraw material that accused same-sex marriage advocates of using the propaganda techniques similar to Nazis during the holocaust. The group was most critical of Minnesota for Marriage for describing the issue as a diversion and a “smoke screen,” which they saw as a thinly-veiled reference to the gas chambers used in Nazi Germany.
Autumn Leva, a spokeswoman for Minnesota for Marriage, said the statements in question came from a separate, affiliate group.
“Minnesota for Marriage regrets that statements considered by many to be offensive appeared on the website of a separate organization, Minnesota Pastors for Marriage,” the statement read. “The aim of Minnesota for Marriage has always been to promote a civil and respectful debate about the nature of marriage.”
That’s a marked change from the day before when the group said Minnesotans United, which is pushing to legalize same-sex marriage in the state, was raising the issue in a “desperate attempt” to divert people from the fact that most Minnesotans don’t want to legalize gay marriage.
A link to the pastors’ group remained atop Minnesota for Marriage’s website Friday afternoon.
Minnesota for Marriage’s affiliate is urging pastors to preach against same-sex marriage this weekend. The group prepared a “sermon starter” help religious leaders touch on key arguments against same-sex marriage.
The material tries to debunk a body of medical and scientific research that shows gay and lesbian people are born that way.
In 1985, Stanley Kubrick was handed a book on the survival of jazz in Nazi-occupied Europe. A snapshot of a Luftwaffe officer casually posing among black, Gypsy, and Jewish musicians outside a Paris nightclub caught his eye. It looked like something out of Dr. Strangelove, he said. He’d long wanted to bring World War II to the screen, and perhaps this photograph offered a way in.
“Stanley’s famous saying was that it was easier to fall in love than find a good story,” says Tony Frewin, Kubrick’s longtime assistant (and, for the purpose of disclosure, an editor-at-large at my former magazine, Stop Smiling). “He was limitlessly interested in anything to do with Nazis and desperately wanted to make a film on the subject.”
Kubrick has long been associated with creating arresting visions of warfare. When it was announced this month that Steven Spielberg will produce Kubrick’s screenplay Napoleon as a television miniseries, the initial speculation was largely about how the ambitious battle scenes, originally conceived to maximize tens of thousands of extras, will be achieved.
However, it’s Kubrick’s interest in jazz-loving Nazis that represents his most fascinating unrealized war film. The book that Kubrick was handed, and one he considered adapting soon after wrapping Full Metal Jacket, was Swing Under the Nazis, published in 1985 and written by Mike Zwerin, a trombonist from Queens who had performed with Miles Davis and Eric Dolphy before turning to journalism.
A Greek criminal prosecutor has launched an investigation after a report on Channel 4 News showed a member of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party threatening to turn immigrants into soap.
The investigation was opened after the Greek anti-racist crime unit referred the news report to the criminal prosecutor.
The film - which was broadcast on Channel 4 News on 5 March - was shot by Konstantinos Georgousis, with the full knowledge of the members, after spending a month filming far-right Golden Dawn party on the streets of Athens.
In the film, Alexandros Plomaritis, a 44-year-old who ran for parliament for the party in last year’s election, said: “We are ready to open the ovens. We will turn them into soap … to wash cars and pavements. We will make lamps from their skin.”
Continue reading at Channel 4.
Full video including commentary below.
A moving reflection from the youngest survivor of Schindler’s List, Leon Leyson, who recently passed away at the age of 83. The speech took place on May of 2008 at UCSD.
Holocaust survivor Leon Leyson reflects on his incredible luck that put him on the infamous “Schindler’s List,” sparing him from a disastrous fate in Nazi Germany.
Leon Leyson dies at 83; youngest survivor on Schindler’s List
Leyson was one of the 1,100 Jews saved from the Nazis by German industrialist Oskar Schindler. He taught school in Huntington Park for 39 years and shared his survival story with others.
By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
January 13, 2013, 8:29 p.m.
Among the 1,100 Jews saved from the Nazis by German industrialist Oskar Schindler was an emaciated 13-year-old boy named Leon Leyson, who had to stand on a box to reach the machinery in the Krakow factory where Schindler sheltered him and his family.
Leon Leyson (Bill Aron/LATimes)
The boy Schindler called “Little Leyson” survived the Holocaust to start life over in Los Angeles. He taught high school in Huntington Park for 39 years, rarely mentioning to anyone the pain and perils he experienced during the war that claimed the lives of 6 million Jews.
Then came the celebrated 1993 movie “Schindler’s List,” which ignited public interest in the stories of Holocaust survivors. Coaxed into breaking five decades of near-silence on the subject, Leyson — the youngest member of the group rescued by Schindler — embarked on a public speaking career that took him across the United States and Canada to share his story about coming of age during the Nazis’ brutal reign.
Naomi Wolf has for many years now been claiming that a fascist coup in America is imminent. Most recently in The Guardian she alleged, with no substantiation, that the U.S. government and big American banks are conspiring to impose a “totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent.” Many of her arguments rely on what she styles as rigorous historical research and analysis of current events. But if you compare her characterizations of the historical sources and current news accounts that she cites with the sources themselves, it is possible to discern a pattern of egregious misstatements and errors in her political writing.
Skeptics have been raising serious questions about her books and articles since Caryn James called The Beauty Myth (1991) “a sloppily researched polemic” in her otherwise generally favorable New York Times review. Most recently, Wolf’s book Vagina: A New Biography has been roundly criticized for overly creative interpretations of scientific research — most pointedly by the scientists she herself cites. But it is when she ventures into matters of politics, history, law, and society that her failures become most apparent.
In her bestselling book The End of America, Wolf does not merely shoehorn her evidence to fit her theses — she completely twists its meaning and ignores its context. Many of her most outrageous distortions have mostly gone unnoticed as she has works to segue from feminist analyst to left-wing political Cassandra in the international conversation.
In a new documentary film, director Florin Iepan confronts Romania’s leaders over their ongoing silence about the country’s role in the Holocaust. But in a place where war criminals are still lauded as national heroes, his aim of getting them to acknowledge the past remains a daunting task.
“Hello, Mr. President,” filmmaker Florin Iepan shouts. “I would like to introduce you to somebody.” The man he is speaking to is Romania’s former President Emil Constantinescu, who was in office from 1996 to 2000. He’s wearing an elegant white suit and leaving a conference room. “I know what this is about,” he says reluctantly. “But I have already expressed my regrets publicly.”
“But perhaps you can say something to this man personally,” Iepan says. “He came from Odessa just for this.” Constantinescu looks at the old man with sympathy and then quickly turns away. “Perhaps another time,” he says.
The man is 87-year-old Michail Zaslawski, the sole survivor of one of the biggest crimes committed by Romania during World War II — the Odessa, Ukraine massacre of Oct. 22-24, 1941. In this short stretch of time, the Romanian army, which was occupying the area as an ally of Nazi Germany, rounded up some 23,000 Jews from around the city and killed them, shooting many and burning others alive in warehouses. Soldiers lobbed grenades at people who tried to flee.
Zaslawski’s parents, three sisters and brother — his entire family — were murdered. The massacre was in reprisal for a bomb attack by Soviets on the Romanian military headquarters, and was personally ordered by the then pro-fascist dictator Ion Antonescu.
The scene where former Romanian President Constantinescu declines to express his sympathies or even offer his hand to Zaslawski for his loss took place in Bucharest in October 2011, around the time of the 70th anniversary of the massacre. It is one among many such moments in Iepan’s documentary film “Odessa,” which explores how Romania’s political and intellectual elite refuse to address their country’s involvement in the Holocaust, not to mention engage in a public debate about who was responsible and how it ought to be remembered.
The religious right faction of the GOP never tires of selling fear and loathing. They persistently pimp paranoia and bile because if there’s not an ultimate evil and we aren’t all doomed, why the hell would you do what they say? Since we are in one of those tail wags the dog periods where the Tea party Evangelists and Paleolibertarian Galtiopaths are setting 100 percent of the GOP agenda, let me tell you what you should really fear.
You should fear the anti science crowd taking over congress and the courts - if you wanted to really stultify the economy and place us far behind our competitors that would be your first step. You would put superstition in charge of science and environmental policy. If you put medieval mindsets in charge of women’s health, then we will return the whole country to the red state problem of excessive out of wedlock teen pregnancy and excessive abortion and excessive infant mortality. Finally, if we allow people who believe their fundamentalist faith’s apocalyptic visions too deeply to set our foreign policy then we will war without end because war debt is the best debt to saddle future generations with since there won’t be future generations in their views.
So here we have the latest fear bomb from Ralph Reed, he goes Godwin against our President and then labels him communist. The religious right can’t decide whether Obama is Hitler, Stalin, or Muslim, but they just know that he must be one or more of those… oh, and they want you to send them money…. or else…
A mailer blasted out by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a nonprofit group spending millions of dollars to mobilize evangelical voters this November to help Mitt Romney’s campaign, compares President Barack Obama’s policies to the threat posed by Nazi Germany and Japan during World War II. It also says that Obama has “Communist beliefs.” A copy of this so-called “Voter Registration Confirmation Survey” was obtained by Mother Jones after it was sent to the home of a registered Republican voter.
The Faith and Freedom Coalition is the brainchild of Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition who was once hailed as “the right hand of God” and who is now tasked with getting out the evangelical vote for Romney. In the mid-2000s, Reed was ensnared in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Reed was a longtime friend of Abramoff’s, and he took payments from Abramoff to lobby against certain American Indian casinos. Reed once ran a religious-themed anti-gambling campaign at the behest of an Abramoff-connected Native American tribe to try to prevent another tribe from opening a competitor casino. His current efforts for Romney are something of a political rehabilitation for Reed.
Reed is Romney’s best hope for rallying evangelical voters. The religious right is a sizable voting bloc: 26 percent of the electorate in 2008. Reed was credited with propelling the evangelical vote in the 2004 for George W. Bush and helping Bush beat Democratic Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). And Romney needs Reed’s kind of help. During the GOP primary, evangelicals tended to prefer Romney’s opponents Newt Gingrich and especially Rick Santorum, and over the summer, enthusiasm among evangelicals for Romney was noticeably lacking.
Returning to ‘The Gulag’: Excerpt From the Introduction to the Newly-Abridged Russian Version of the Gulag Archipelago
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was born in 1918 in Kislovodsk. His parents, both of whom were of peasant stock and were the first in their families to gain an education, were married in August 1917 at the front, where the writer’s father was a second lieutenant in an artillery brigade. In 1914 he had left Moscow University in order to enlist in the military in WWI, putting in three-and-a-half years of service and returning to the Kuban region in early 1918. He died as a result of a hunting accident six months before the birth of his son. The writer’s mother raised the boy by herself in hardscrabble circumstances, living in drafty tumble-down shacks that had to be heated with coal and needed water to be carried in by bucket.
Sanya, as the boy was called at home, read a great deal and, strange to say, at the age of eight or nine decided that he had to become a writer, though of course he had no real understanding of what this might entail. His childhood and youth were spent in Rostov-on-Don. Upon graduating from a local secondary school, he enrolled in Rostov University, majoring in mathematics and physics, combining this with a correspondence course in literature at Moscow’s Institute of History, Philosophy, and Literature. The outbreak of the war with Nazi Germany found him in Moscow at the beginning of a summer session at this institute. Joining the military as a private, he completed a short-term course in artillery school in December 1942, was promoted to lieutenant and placed in command of a sound-ranging battery. He served first on the northwest front, then on the Bryansk front, receiving the Patriotic War medal after the battle of Kursk and the Red Star medal after the capture of Rogachyov in Belorussia. Solzhenitsyn’s battery participated in front-line action throughout the war, and he remained in command until February 1945 when he, now a captain, was arrested for intercepted correspondence with a friend from his school years. In their letters, the two officers had criticized Stalin for “betraying the cause of the Revolution” as well as for his treachery and cruelty, calling him Pakhan, a head of a criminal organization. The retribution was swift. The twenty-six-year-old Solzhenitsyn was sentenced to eight years of forced-labor camp with “perpetual exile” to follow after the end of that term.
Letters written by ordinary Germans to Adolf Hitler during the dark days of Nazi Germany have been discovered in a Russian archive.
The fascinating correspondence, which will surprise many with their critical tone, begins in 1924 and goes right through to the Fuhrer’s last days as he cowered in a Berlin bunker in 1945.
The documents, which were found in a Russian archive, have now been translated into English and reveal a side of the Nazis that is rarely considered.
They show how the popularity of Hitler’s National Socialists party was carefully managed as support grew among the German population - and beyond.
But, more surprisingly, the letters also show how ‘shaky’ Hitler’s hold on power was at times and how unpopular the Second World War became among the masses.
His office even received, and replied to, letters from Jews complaining about his party’s increasingly anti-Semitic stance.
Chillingly, the British editor of a book publishing the correspondence, Letter To Hitler, claims the collection shows how a similarly totalitarian regime could emerge today.
Dr Victoria Harris said: ‘Some letters from people who idolise him are totally fawning, but you get the impression from the others that he could easily lose his approval.
‘The biggest lesson I learned was how shaky his popularity was and how the regime had to work hard to maintain popularity.
‘What is chilling is that you can see how he built his support and how you could see it happening elsewhere.’
In May, students at an Oklahoma public high school were given copies of a DVD comparing the Holocaust to abortion—with no warning of the content of the film—after a local family asked the school if copies of the DVD could be passed out to students.
Surprisingly, and perhaps unknowingly, the school agreed to pass out the film to students as long as the students got permission from their parents first. The film, entitled 180, begins with Holocaust and concentration camp imagery before making the comparison between Hitler, Nazi Germany and people who are pro-choice.
Superintendent Marte Thompson said that a student aide accidentally gave out copies of the movie before parents had been asked to give consent. Once school officials realized the nature of the DVD, all copies were confiscated and returned to the local family.
But one student’s stepfather said the students weren’t even informed about what kind of DVD they were receiving—the students came to their lockers to find notes telling them to pick up their free DVDs. And concerned parent Marty Angus says the students watched the movie in class.
“I thought it was graphic and a clear violation between church and state and it was just awful to be shown to a high school student,” Angus told a Fox affiliate.
The film was produced by the Christian ministry, Living Waters. When it was released in 2011, the Anti-Defamation League called the film “one of the most offensive and outrageous abuses of the memory of the Holocaust we have seen in years.”