Disclaimer: I am the daughter of Holocaust survivors.
My mother was transported to Auschwitz from her home in the Maramures region of northern Romania and my father fled into the Soviet Union from his eastern Polish town.
So, everything that touches on the Holocaust has special meaning for me.
I grew up with the accented English, the vast unknown past, the sense of loss, human, historical, cultural.
I saw the film WOMEN IN GOLD one or two days after its national release
For the first time since the mid ’70s release of STAR WARS or THE GODFATHER, I had to wait on line.
The showing was sold out as was the showing before it.
WOMAN IN GOLD is the story of a relationship between Maria Altmann, descendant of a prestigious Austrian Jewish family, the Bloch-Bauers and Randol Schoenberg, a young lawyer, descendant of an equally prestigious family, the Schoenbergs and their attempt to obtain restitution of a valuable painting of Ms. Altmann’s aunt by Gustav Klimt one of Austria’s most famous artists.
It is also the story of their attempt to obtain justice from the Austrian government and an acknowledgement of its participation in the Nazi theft.
The leads are portrayed by Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds. They are magical.
It is a fantastic film. Cinematically. Narratively. Perfect casting.
For reasons unknown, an early viewing at the Berlin Film Festival was subject to a cruel, almost anti-Semitic review by the international VARIETY critic. He seems to be angry that Ms. Altmann and Mr. Schoenberg had the temerity to sue for Ms. Altmann’s property.
My question if I were to confront this critic would be: Are Jews not allowed to own property? He barely reviews the film while using his “review” as a blog of his political thoughts.
One of the things that many people fail to admit is that the Holocaust was not just a genocide, it was a mad grab for Jewish “things”. It was theft, greed, pure and simple. It was pagan covetousness by the Nazis, the natives, and the neighbors. They stole everything — Candlesticks. Earrings. Factories.
I remember my mother telling me the following:
Her father had a small factory that made earthenware dishes. He employed native girls to paint flowers on the dishes and sold them all over northern Romania. The family lived in a stone house that had been in the family for over one hundred years. They had large fields and grew some of their own food. They had a horse.
When my grandmother was deported to Auschwitz in June, 1944 she had some diamond jewelry. I am not sure if they were rings or earrings.
As they walked to the train depo she threw them in the fields.
She was dead within two days.
(Above written by Elaine Rosenberg Miller)
(In the meantime many of her tormentors — craven, masochistic, depraved dregs of humanity escaped from imprisonment and death via ratlines carefully organized with the documented collusion of elements of the Vatican, the Catholic Church and US Army Intelligence!
Ratlines were a system of escape routes for Nazis and other fascists fleeing Europe at the end of World War II. These escape routes mainly led toward havens in South America, particularly Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, and Bolivia.
Other destinations included the United States, Great Britain, Canada and the Middle East.
So much for the supposed moral superiority of the Western world.)
Jerome S. Kaufman
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