Category Archives: Art

Documentary by Oana Giurgiu: Aliyah Dada

▶︎Full movie, uncut and in English◀︎

Libra Film: Following 130 years of the emigration of Romanian Jews towards the Holy Land, both history of East Europe and Israel will be revealed, in a light, colourful film depicting history in human stories and collages, as a tribute to Tristan Tzara – born in the same town from where first Jews emigrated to Palestine in 1882.

In the same time we will discover all absurdities and contradictions in the relationship between Romanians and Jews: Romanians were responsible for some of the cruelest pogroms during the Second World War, but still Romania had the largest Jewish surviving population at the end of the war, after USSR. Communist regimes were trading this population with Israel, and Ceausescu made even a step forward requesting cash payment per person, but same Ceausescu was the one convincing Egypt to sign the peace with Israel.

In Israel, the population from Romania became the country’s fourth largest group, but they always stayed in the shadow, sometimes hiding their origins, even though important personalities emerged from that community, even though they have brought important elements to their new country; the Israeli anthem and national dance “hora” are both inspired of the Romanian folklore, to mention just that.

Today, a return to democracy in Romania has attracted many Israeli investors, almost the same number as the former Jewish community that is slowly vanishing. In Israel, a museum of Romanian Jewry will be built, in the first settlement made by them in Rosh Pina. But will their memory be carried on by the new generations?

Jewish Women in Music and Dance

Editorial Notice: http://www.hartung-gorre.de/Brenner_VI.htm
Amazon: https://goo.gl/D5gg8p

Excerpt from the preface by Rita Calabrese: “[…] Dieser Band VI und hoffentlich nicht letzter ist der Musik und dem Tanz gewidmet. Nicht nur Stars wie Barbra Streisand, Amy Winehouse und Bette Midler sind zusammen mit Sängerinnen aus vielen Zeiten zu finden, sondern auch Pianistinnen und Violinistinnen zusammen mit Komponistinnen, die in Fanny Mendelssohn ihre Vorläuferin hatten, sowie auch Dirigentinnen. Auffallend ist die lange Liste der Künstlerinnen, die ein tragisches Ende in Auschwitz-Birkenau und anderen KZs gefunden haben, darunter die Pianistinnen Mathilde Borgenicht und Leopoldine Oppenheimer, die Violinistin Alma Rose, die Nichte Gustav Mahlers. Andere hingegen haben dank der Musik überleben können, wie Esther Bejarano und Fania Fenelon, die über das Orchester in Auschwitz geschrieben haben, Yvette Assaeler, Grete Klingsberg, Rachel Knobler und andere. Zu erwähnen ist auch Lin Jaldati, die während der Deportation Anne Frank kennengelernt hatte. Als eine der ersten hat sie die jiddische Musik in der DDR bekannt gemacht. Noch etwas zu diesem wertvollen Werk muss man hervorheben, und zwar die verdienstvolle Verfasserin. Geboren im k.u.k. Czernowitz, das später rumänisch wurde und längst zur Ukraine gehört, ist Hedwig Brenner über politische, geschichtliche und sprachliche Grenzen nach Israel gekommen, wohin sie das kostbare Erbe der deutschsprachigen jüdischen Kultur mitgenommen und einen neuen Anfang als Schriftstellerin gewagt hat.Im Hebräischen heißt Leben Chajim und ist Plural. Wie kaum eine andere zeigt Hedi Brenner die Vielfalt und Unschätzbarkeit der menschlichen Existenz, und dafür danken wir.”

Hedwig Brenner in April 2014

Meyer Ebner on Leibu Levin – 1935

From Ruth Levin, an article from the “Ost-Yiddishe Zeitung”, 2.6.1935:

“…Dr. Landau introduced to the audience a young man whose name
should not be forgotten. Probably, we’ll hear from him again and again.

Levin isn’t a singer, rather he’s an artistic reader. He’s not a reader, rather
he’s an actor. As a matter of fact he’s all in one: singer, artistic reader, actor
and poet. Why also poet? He reads to us only the poems of others, does he not?
That being so, this is the secret of his art. He reveals what is hidden between the lines.
He brings the poet to completion. He draws from the poet’s soul riches the poet himself
did not know of, riches that were hidden in his sub-conscious…

Frequently the words of the text in his mouth serve solely as a stimulus that awakens –
just for a passing moment – the poetic spiritual inheritance of his own, and that has
always to be born anew, like the music.

The art of Leibu Levin needs not only to be heard, though, but also to be seen. He himself
one has to hear and see, how he breathes into the dim hall, into the pearls of strangers’
poetry, his young burning soul, the creative, sometimes ecstatic, and sometimes weeping
soul…  His profound understanding drew one deeply into the fables of
Eliezer Steinbarg and the ballads of Itzik Manger.

From time to time the reader becomes singer, and only when he was seen as well as heard,
did I finally understand the meaning of the old expression “to sing and to say”
regarding troubadours and minnesingers. When his spoken word passes to song, it reminds me
of a flying ship hovering above the earth and taking off to the blue heavens…

Talent is as rare as gold. From the gold it is possible to forge a holiday crown for
priests who serve gods and it is possible to pay with it the penance for sinful impurity…

Talent can be refined to capture surpassing art, or can descend to cheap popular
entertainment. It seems to me that all in Leibu Levin aspires toward and is uplifted to the
shining heights of noble art .”

Dr. Meyer Ebner
The newspaper “Ost-Yiddishe Zeitung”, 2.6.1935

Ostjüdische_Zeitung_1935_00169 Kopie

What’s it about: “The Nazi, the Painter and the Forgotten Story of the SS Road”?




Drawings dedicated by Arnold and Anna Daghani to Erich Dubowy



These two letters – Click here for the German transcription! – and the drawings above were sent by Arnold and Anna Daghani to Erich Dubowy between June and September 1976. They are reproduced by special courtesy of Erich’s son Daniel Dubowy from Canada. Concerning the relationship between Arnold Daghani and Erich Dubowy, we learn from Daniel: “…they knew each other from Czernowitz, (they were of the same age) but surely from Bucharest. In the early fifties in Bucharest there were quite a few Czernowitzer artists who socialized and met regularly, and my father who was an architect but also a decent piano player, must have intermingled with them. […] They may not have been close friends but acquainted enough to be in some constant correspondence before and after.” Even more, one of the reasons these letters make compelling reading is their historical relevance, far beyond just personal considerations. 






Arnold Daghani shines a light on his artistic self-conception as well as on his relationship to the Romanian post WW2 artist community, such as to the Czernowitzer poet Alfred Kittner, the Romanian art reviewer Eugen Schileru, the Armenian businessman and art collector Krikor H. Zambaccian, the diplomat and art critic Oscar Walter Cisek, who authored short stories, novels, poems and essays in both German and Romanian. In addition we discover at the bottom of these letters a catalogue of Daghani’s works, which apparently were still in his possession before finally emigrating to England and settling in Hove, near Brighton, one year later in 1977. Daghani died in 1985, a deeply frustrated man, and his work is now held at Centre for German-Jewish Studies at the University of Sussex.


Dr Deborah Schultz comes straight to the point stating in her article “Pictorial Narrative, History and Memory in the Work of Arnold Daghani” as follows: “His frustrations were intensified by the lack of public interest in the camps in Ukraine, with all the attention focused on better-known camps such as Auschwitz, and he strongly believed that his account had to be heard. For Daghani writing and image making may have been the means of locating himself and of finding his way.” You will better comprehend this by reading the first paragraph of Daghani’s second letter: “As an ‘homage’, I received from the public prosecutors the entire investigation procedure file, since, according to the chief prosecutor [Fritz Bauer], it’s solely due to me, that they gained knowledge of the atrocities committed on the other side of the Bug River.” But it’s finally G. H. Bennett,  Associate Professor in History at the University of Plymouth, who – by his article “The Limits of West German Justice in the 1960s: The Post-War Investigation of Walter Gieseke” and his book “The Nazi, the Painter and the Forgotten Story of the SS Road” – is enlightening the historical dimension for us.




Well, the “Nazi” was Walter Gieseke, Oberstleutnant of the Gendarmerie and SS, the “Painter” was Arnold Daghani and the DG IV (Durchgangsstraße IV) was the “SS Road”, the road building project across the Ukraine which resulted in the murder of substantial numbers of Jewish forced labourers, among those many from Bukovina.


At my previous posting “The Stone Quarry on the Bug River at 8 Miles from N 48°40′ E 29°15′” you’ll find additional reports on the fate of the Jewish forced labourers including excerpts from Andrej Angrick’s article “Forced Labor along the ‘Straße der SS'” and Gerhard (Bobby) Schreiber’s memoirs “A Tale of Survival”. After getting numerous answers to our initial question, the final question concerns the moral condemnation and criminal conviction of the war criminals, but read by yourself G. H. Bennett’s conclusion:


“Gieseke was never brought to trial and Daghani would eventually conclude that the West German investigations into the crimes committed along DGIV were ‘merely a farce, a meaningless gesture’. […] The investigation of Walter Gieseke highlights the problems in the 1950s and 1960s of securing justice for crimes committed during the war. The processes of investigating and prosecuting of German war criminals in the context of West German justice in the 1950s and 1960s were not likely to result in a conviction. Gieseke’s defensive strategies maximized the problems facing investigators which resulted from the set of legal, political, social and investigative contexts that made a trial difficult and, in the eyes of many West Germans, unwanted and unwarranted. […] In the case of Walter Gieseke can be glimpsed many of thecomplexiti es that protected the guilty men and women of post-war Germany. Moreover, study of this case hopefully demonstrates the need to discount concerns about ‘practitioners’ trespassing onto the territory of historians. In studying post-war German justice, and indeed most aspects of legal history, there is ample scope for practitioners and historians to pool their skills and approaches to the mutual benefit of truly interdisciplinary scholarship.There is much to be learned from each other and little to be feared.

Additional Links:
“SS film links officer with war crimes” by BBC
“Lost film unearthed in Devon church…” by Daily Mail 
“Arnold Daghani. Who is he?” by Miha Ahronovitz
“The Art of Arnold Daghani” by The Art of Polemics